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Organization keeping seniors from going hungry

According to a study by the Meals on Wheels Association of America, in 2009, Georgia was ranked sixth –– out of the ten states reviewed –– in the number of senior citizens at risk of going hungry.

Dorothy Douglas, 84, of Forest Park, who is homebound, might be one of those statistics, if the Clayton County Meals of Wheels program were not around.

Times were difficult for Douglas before she discovered the Meals on Wheels Program, according to Marquita Bundrage, the marketing coordinator for the Clayton County Senior Services Department. She said Douglas was having difficulty cooking for herself and had no one else to care for her.

“What happens is, people, either themselves or family members, call the Clayton County Aging Program and inquire about our services,” said Bundrage. “We then send out one of our care managers to assess their needs.”

“Seniors [like Douglas] usually have a very-low-income level, with a majority of them living below the poverty level,” said Tina May, an employee with the Clayton County Aging Program.

In an effort to keep seniors, like Douglas, from having to worry where their next meal will come from, May said, The Aging Advisory Board, under the Senior Services Department, is hosting a spaghetti dinner to raise money to bolster funding for the Meals of Wheels program.

“We are asking for a ten-dollar donation from the public to help cover the cost of the meals for the Meals on Wheels recipients,” said May.

The event is slated for Friday, Oct. 21, from 6 p.m., to 9 p.m., at the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center’s dinning hall, in Jonesboro.

May said the proceeds will be used to ensure that all participants in the program will be able to receive a nutritious meal. There are already close to 200 participants being served, but May said the money raised through the event, will allow the organization to start serving seniors who on its waiting list.

The meals are delivered by a host of volunteers, staff members locally and from surrounding county departments, as well as outside organizations, said May. She added that hot-lunch meals are delivered to seniors five days a week, who are 60 years of age or older. They generally, are homebound and not able to prepare a meal for themselves.

May said tickets to the spaghetti dinner can be purchased at the following facilities: the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center, at 2300 Highway 138 SE, in Jonesboro (inside Clayton County International Park); the Frank Bailey Senior Center, at 6213 Riverdale Road, in Riverdale; the Shelnutt Intergenerational Center, at 849 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro; and the Clayton County Aging Program, at 877 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.

For more information, call the Clayton County Aging Program, at (770) 603-4050.