By Carolyn Johnson
Working as Director at the Bailey County Senior Center is one of the most unique jobs I have ever had. It’s fun! It’s exciting! I get to work with a great group of people. Our senior participants only add to the enjoyment I experience there.
The last two weeks I have been out with a medical issue where the doctors would not allow me to walk. But probably many of you never know it because the staff along with some great board of directors and volunteers stepped up, took charge and kept the place running smoothly. They did this, too, during a time where we are doing about three times the amount of work we’ve previously done. For example, we are serving meals in three different ways: drive thru, home delivery, and dining in! Each way of serving requires three to four individuals in addition to our regular staff. Basically it takes about nine to ten people to get everyone served; where before we only used three.
In addition, we are having to do all of the extra work linked to the pandemic such as checking temps when patrons come in. We have to make sure, too, that all of the food is only handled once. An example of this would be ketchup must be put in individual sealed containers rather than a squeeze bottled passed at the table as done in the past.
Social distancing of only four chairs at a table must be controlled and chairs and tables must be sanitized as soon as individuals eat and leave so the next people coming to eat are assured a sanitized and clean table. In addition, we are participating in the milk program with Hettinga Dairy. Last week we distributed some 74 gallons of milk to our seniors.
I have never been prouder of our staff, board members, and volunteers for stepping up and meeting the challenge. I have had several calls with people telling me what a great job they are doing. It is so great to get those types of calls than those of complaints and anger because the job wasn’t done.
If you participated in our meals and/or activities during this time and you were pleased with their work—please let them know. They put it long hard hours—serving an average of 100 meals per dat. No easy task! And remember, our volunteers and board members are doing it without any pay at all. But they call come together daily to provide social and behavioral support, to cancel out loneliness and isolation, and to enhance the well-being of the senior participants in our community. I am thankful to be blessed and associated with such a good crew!