December 21, 2021 – Flagler County cherishes its seniors, quite literally, through the nourishing services provided through the Senior Services division. These services include congregate meals (at both the Senior Center and as part of Adult Day Care), Meals on Wheels, and the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program is the newest of the programs that strive to meet seniors’ nutritional needs. The Board of County Commissioners in 2017 entered into an agreement with the food bank to provide a commodities food delivery once a month to eligible Flagler County seniors. The program has grown to about 100 deliveries per month – about one ton of food products.

“We interview and qualify seniors’ eligibility based on income and family size. We also maintain a fluid waitlist so deliveries move as quickly as vacancies occur,” said Senior Services Program Manager Joanne Hinkel. “The food arrives in bulk and a crew of staff and volunteers immediately sort and prep delivery-ready packaging so there are same-day deliveries throughout the county.”

Individual deliveries include: canned or bottled fruits and juices; canned vegetables; instant and ultra-pasteurized milk; canned meat, poultry and fish; plant-based protein; two boxes of cereal; pasta and rice; and, cheese.

“The program provided added relief during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic because the deliveries continued with no need for worry or concern,” Hinkel said. “Commodities would be on their way.”

Nutrition has remained a high priority for the Senior Services division, which was introduced in Flagler County in the early 1970s. A contracted nutrition consultant ensures the menus for the congregate meals meet the established criteria of the Department of Elder Affairs.

Services also include face-to-face presentations where congregate meals are served, as well as an annual nutrition education program. Senior Services case managers conduct home assessments with follow-up visits on a regular basis.

Meals on Wheels address the nutritional needs of homebound seniors. Five individual meals are delivered once a week. There is a four week menu cycle and all meals are diabetic-friendly with a low salt content.

“For home-delivered meals, everything starts with a request from the senior in need – or a friend, a church member, a doctor, a family,” Hinkel said. “Eligibility is relatively broad.”

It includes:

  • Homebound due to illness, disability, or isolation
  • Recipient’s spouse, regardless of age, if the provision of the collateral meal supports maintaining the person at home
  • Individuals with disabilities, regardless of age, who reside at home with eligible individuals and are dependent on them for care
  • People at nutritional risk who have physical, emotional, or behavioral conditions that would make their presence at the congregate site inappropriate
  • People at nutritional risk who are socially, or otherwise isolated, and unable to attend a congregate nutrition site

“There are no fees for this service, but recipients are provided opportunity to support the program by way of donation,” Hinkel said. “The success of this program rests with dedicated volunteers.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Services was assigned the task by the state to increase its overall meal service by including deliveries to the Senior Center participants who were now homebound because of the center closing. The once-a-week delivery became a daily delivery – encouraging seniors to stay safely at home. They were fed and local restaurants were supported.

In 2019 some 35,912 meals were provided and that number jumped to 55,697 in 2020. Participating restaurants included: Hammock Wine and Cheese, Flagler Fish Company, Highjackers, Green Lion, Honey Baked Hams, World Plate Eatery, Breakfast Station, Luigi’s Gourmet Kitchen, The Beach Front Grille, Subway (on State Road 100), La’s Bistro, and Texas Roadhouse.

“Our small staff works very hard to make sure the needs of our seniors are met,” said Assistant Health and Human Services Director Chynequa King. “If you believe you are eligible, or know someone who is and could use the assistance, please contact us.”

For more information and specifics about eligibility, call 386-586-2324, extension 3633.

Media Release: Flagler County. Julie Murphy, MPIO