Stanislaus County leaders on Tuesday approved a six-month extension of an agreement with Howard Training Center to deliver meals to home-bound seniors.
The county Area Agency on Aging began exploring new arrangements for its senior nutrition program after the center in Ceres served notice in February it would not renew the agreement July 1. The nonprofit center that trains adults with disabilities has been the primary vendor for the senior nutrition program since 2006, which also includes hot lunches served at community and senior centers across the county.
Under a transition plan, the Howard center will continue delivering the frozen meals to 420 seniors in the county between July 1 and Dec. 31.
Effective July 1, the center’s commercial kitchen will stop making the hot lunches served to seniors at congregate sites. The Area Agency on Aging will temporarily provide that service, between July 1 and Dec. 31, through “emergency agreements” with nonprofit groups while working on a long-term strategy for the nutrition program.
United Samaritans Foundation will have responsibility for providing 440 fresh meals per month in Turlock and 190 meals in Hughson. The Turlock Gospel Mission will deliver pre-packaged hot meals to Ralston Tower and Marple Manor in Modesto and to centers in Riverbank and Newman. The nonprofit groups will be reimbursed $5.50 per meal.
Taher Food Service Management Co. will prepare about 2,100 fresh meals a month for seniors at six other congregate sites. The food will be delivered by the Area Agency on Aging.
The county agency will seek proposals in July or August from potential contractors for the senior nutrition programs on a long-term basis after Jan. 1, 2019.
It’s possible the Sheriff’s Department kitchen at the Public Safety Center on Hackett Road could prepare the meals for the program. If that can be done in a cost-effective manner, the county may not seek proposals from outside contractors. Under that scenario, drivers transferred from the Howard Center to the Area Agency on Aging could deliver the meals starting next year.
In serving notice it would not renew the $935,000 contract with the county, the Howard center said it was charting a new course on vocational training for disabled adults under the federal Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act of 2016. About 250 clients are trained in work and daily living skills at the Ceres center.