As COVID-19 restrictions eased, the in-person nutrition services at the East Feliciana Council on Aging resumed earlier this month. New center director Cindy McManus and her staff opened the facility for hot meals July 7 after more than a year and a half of closures.

The Council on Aging, closed since March 25, 2020, saw a receptive group of seniors who were pleased to have the hot meal service available, but also excited about the social interaction and opportunity to see friends and familiar faces again.

Patricia Luttrull, the agency’s administrative assistant, said all those that came for lunch were still receiving nutrition services through the pandemic. Home delivery staff members sent frozen meals to seniors each week. Luttrull added that seniors still have the option of home delivery if they chose to not make the trip to the center for meals.

Luttrull said 35 seniors showed up on the first day that the center served a hot meal, and 16 home deliveries were made. The trip to the Council on Aging serves many more purposes than getting a hot meal.

“What we want to do is have our people come into the center because we want them to be able to stay mobile as long as we can keep them that way,” she said. “So, by them riding the bus and coming to the center, they are getting out. It gives them a chance to meet other people as well as have an activity, because when they're home alone and have no other contact, then they're a little more depressed, but we want them to be as independent as they can be.”

McManus started in her role as director just days before seniors returned to the historic location. “This is actually the old Clinton elementary school and the building is more than 100 years old,” she said. “We just had a renovation, and I started July 1 as the director. I am learning a little bit of everything right now.”

McManus said other services include transportation, information assistance, wellness checks, recreation activities and a medical alert system. “They can borrow medical equipment like wheelchairs or walkers, or some things needed for bathing,” she said. “We call all of our clients to check on them and make sure that they're OK. We also have a homemaker section where we have one of our staff members go out and clean house for someone that's disabled and can't clean for themselves.”

Luttrull said services are open to East Feliciana residents 60 years old and older. Meals are served Monday through Friday and transportation is available for clients who live along the designated routes and have arranged to be picked up. Some seniors are dropped to the center or provide their own transportation. No proof of residency is required, but an application is filled out before services begin.