Residents of the City of Collins came out with an overwhelming support for the senior adult feeding program to  be held at the Senior Citizens Center.
“We are very appreciative of those who came in to apply for the meals in an effort to help us bring this program to Collins for those residents who truly need it,” said Suzette Davis, City Clerk.
The program is a service of the Southern Mississippi Planning District Area Agency on Aging and the City of Collins.
In partnership with the Department of Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services and the U.S. Department of Human Services, Administration for Community Living, the Area Agency on Aging serves as the public advocate for the development and implementation of comprehensive and coordinated home and community based care systems responsive to the current needs and future growth of the aging population.
The agency has a contract with the City of Collins to offer congregate meal planning at no cost to seniors once they have been through the application process and have been approved.
A congregate meal is a nutritionally balanced meal served in a specific location such as a community or senior center. Congregate meals are primarily for the fairly mobile Senior population. In order to qualify for this program individuals must be age 60 or older, or be the spouse of an eligible person.
The contract specifies that the city will receive 20 meals to be served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. beginning February 16.
“We are only allowed 20 meals to serve each day,” said Davis, “and those meals are handed out on a first come, first served basis.
“This program will help us to feed the elderly residents in the area who might otherwise not receive a meal because of a number of reasons,” said Davis.  “It might be because it’s an elderly lady in the community who is existing on her social security benefits and does not have the extra income to buy a hot meal every day, or it may be an elderly couple who just are not able to prepare those types of meals for themselves.”
While the service is one the Mayor and Board of Aldermen hoped could provide meals to all senior adults in the community, Davis noted that the Agency on Aging explained that the program was set up to help those seniors who would otherwise not have a meal without the program.
“We want to be sure our seniors are cared for and getting a hot meal,” said Davis.  “This way we know that they are able to get a meal and not skip it because they cannot afford it.”
Davis emphasized that this program is just one of many offerings that will be available at the Senior Citizens Center.
“The center was built as a place for seniors to come out and socialize and participate in activities throughout the week,” said Davis.
Activities that will be offered will include quilting, games, exercise classes, health classes and informational sessions.
“The center is open to all of our seniors,” Davis added. “This one meal program is a six-month pilot program to see if it is something the city wants to expand.  It’s a program designed to help with a need among our seniors who may otherwise not get a meal.  That doesn’t mean that we won’t have many other offerings and activities going on for all the senior adult community.  We are in the beginning stage of operating this facility.”