Lanett Senior Center delivers meals provided by Merl’s Diner

Published 10:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

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LANETT — Fifteen Lanett seniors had boxed lunches from Merl’s Diner delivered to their homes on Thursday.

Each meal contained baked chicken, green beans, creamed potatoes and a roll.

“They are participants in our senior center program,” Senior Center Director Sandra Thornton explained. “Each one lives alone and has no one to cook for them. We want to make sure they have a good nutritious meal during the Christmas-New Year’s holiday break.”

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The senior center closed following its Christmas party on Dec. 22. It reopens on Monday, following an 11-day closure.

Approximately 20 Lanett residents who are at least 60 years of age take part in the Monday through Friday congregate program at the senior center. They receive a hot meal provided to them through the Alabama Department of Senior Services and the East Alabama Area Agency on the Aging. Another 47 Lanett seniors have meals delivered to their homes by a city bus.

At the Christmas party, the seniors present received gift bags containing some ready-to-eat food items that could help them through the holiday break. The meals that were delivered during the noon hour on Thursday were to make sure the neediest among the seniors got a hot, healthy meal during the holiday break.

“Our bus drivers are eyes and ears of the center,” Thornton said. “They bond with the seniors they serve on their route. They become friends with them and keep track with what’s going on in their lives. If for some reason they don’t see them when they deliver a meal to their house, they can call in a welfare check to make sure they are all right.”

A police officer would then go to the home to make sure they are okay.

“The city is glad to be doing this today to help our seniors,” Mayor Jamie Heard said. “The ones participating in our program range in age from their early sixties to their nineties. They are all wonderful people, and we want to make sure they are treated right.”

Gina Scott, Tyrone Roberts and Travis Hargett are the bus drivers. Scott and Roberts deliver the meals, and Hargett transports seniors to doctor appointments and takes them to the grocery store. In many cases, it’s the only means of transportation the senior has.

There’s a Chambers County bus taking local seniors out of county for their medical needs.

Renae Abner is another key person for the senior center. “She’s responsible for every detail in our cafeteria,” Thornton said. “She is assisted by Christine Frazier and Wylene Carr.”

The weekly senior meals program is an important service provided by the state. At present, an estimated 43,000 Alabama seniors are receiving a nutritious meal five days a week. It comes at no cost to them.

Chambers County is among ten counties being served by the East Alabama Agency on the Aging. The others include Tallapoosa, Coosa, Randolph, Clay, Talladega, Cleburne, Calhoun, Cherokee and Erowah.