Congregate meals on the menu for New Scotland seniors

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

After months of pandemic-induced isolation, Hilltown seniors, pictured, resumed their congregate meals on June 1.

NEW SCOTLAND — After nearly 18 months of being confined to their homes, some of New Scotland’s senior citizens were recently able to get together at the town’s Wyman Osterhout Community Center on Old New Salem Road.

“The big thing we want to get going now is socialization,” Deb Engel, New Scotland’s senior outreach coordinator, told the town board at its July 14 meeting. 

Engel said she’d like to get some senior trips going, “get some communities together,” which is something her department is currently in the process of doing.

The county’s Department of Aging has reached out to the town to see if it feels there’s a need for senior congregate meals twice a week.

The community center, Engel said, could fit about 40 people.

The meals would be provided by the county, she said.

Albany County, Engel said, “would provide everything; so it costs us nothing.”

Engel did say the town would be on the hook for trying to find volunteers to help serve the meals — “a hot meal,” Engel noted, that would include a meat, potato, a vegetable, salad, bread or roll, and a dessert. 

And though it’s not required, Engel said, if lunch-goers would like to donate $3 per meal, they could.  

Engel, who was recently recognized by the county legislature for her work, said she’d like to see the congregate meals run twice a week.

Engel is hopeful to have the program up and running by this fall, pending a facelift of the kitchen at the community center — which was approved by the town board at its July 14 meeting; the $11,700 cabinets-and-countertop upgrade is covered by a state grant.

“And we’re going to partner this with some people from Berne,” where congregate lunches are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Engel said, so the lunches in New Scotland would be held on Tuesday and Thursday.


COVID response

During the pandemic, with the help of the sheriff’s office, the county’s department of aging, Rite Aid, and Caring Wellness Pharmacy of Cohoes, 620 shots were administered to New Scotland senior citizens, Engel told the town board. 

Engel said the town is working on getting five homebound residents vaccinated, likely with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccination, but she “has to get somebody who’s willing to deliver them.”

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