Garfield County senior grab-and-go meals suspended in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale
Garfield County Senior Programs’ grab-and-go lunches are being suspended in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale while the county looks for a new vendor to prepare the meals.
The weekly program on the eastern end of the county will discontinue Jan. 20, allowing the county to solicit for a new caterer to continue the service, the county announced in a Thursday news release.
The grab-and-go format replaced the regular site-based congregate meals during the pandemic, and has become well-utilized, Garfield County Senior Services Program Manager Judy Martin said in the release.
Congregate meals on different days of the week have since returned to New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute, but not Glenwood and Carbondale.
“It is our hope to reopen to congregate hot meals with our original pre-pandemic schedule in Glenwood Springs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and in Carbondale on Wednesdays,” Martin said. “We appreciate your patience and flexibility while we identify a new caterer.”
The grab-and-go meals have been prepared by the food services department at Sunlight Mountain Resort. But, due to transportation issues and the busy winter season at the ski resort, that option was no longer feasible.
Also, because County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky is associated with Sunlight as one of the owners, he recommended last fall that the county put the meals contract out to competitive bid.
Around that same time, another senior meals program, Carbondale-based Valley Meals and More, said it would be ending its home-delivered meals program if it did not obtain additional funding to keep the program going.
County commissioners agreed to contribute to that effort, providing $40,000 in county funding for this year. But the surprise announcement by the county to suspend its Wednesday grab-and-go program means Valley Meals has to revisit its plan, program Executive Director Mary Kenyon said.
“We are secure through the first quarter with two major grants pending,” Kenyon said. “We continue to apply for additional funding with the goal to deliver nutritious and delicious meals without any interruption in service in 2022.”
Kenyon said her program is averaging 80 meals delivered each weekday, and about 100 “unique individuals” are registered for the program.
“We had planned on relying on the county to provide access to meals for the Carbondale older adults on Wednesdays, reducing our meal delivery days to four days per week,” Kenyon said. “The Valley Meals board had approved that plan, which was to start next week.”
How long the county program will be down depends on response to its call for prospective meal vendors.
“The county is seeking caterers to provide the meals to keep the program in operation, and has contacted seniors who are affected by the service suspension,” the county news release stated.
“We are looking for a great community partner to help us serve hot lunches to seniors following our funding guidelines,” Martin said.
She added that seniors in eastern Garfield County are welcome to attend congregate meal sites from New Castle to Parachute.
Reservations for the noon meals should be made to 970-665-0040 two days in advance for the following locations:
- New Castle: “The Gathering” at the Castle Valley Senior Housing, 201 Castle Valley Blvd., on Mondays
- Silt: “Meet ’n’ Eat” at Silt Town Center, 600 Home Ave., on Wednesdays.
- Parachute: Valley Senior Center, 540 N. Parachute Ave., on Mondays and Wednesdays
- Rifle: “Senior Delight” at the Rifle Senior Center, 50 Ute Ave., on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
To submit a bid for a contract to provide the grab-and-go meals in Glenwood and Carbondale, contact Garfield County Procurement and Contracts Director Jamaica Watts at 970-384-5018, or visit the county’s procurement web page [garfield-county.com/procurement].
Added Kenyon, “We hope the county secures the immediate assistance of the many talented food providers in our region to fill this gap in services for the older adults in their program until they are able to reopen their congregate sites. Daily meals are a basic need that cannot be put on hold, even for a week, and we hope some creative thinking and willingness to collaborate will get them through this latest challenge.”
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or email@example.com.
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