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More meals, rides for seniors in 2018

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MEDINA — Seniors in Medina County were helped more in 2018 with meals and rides than in recent years, according to data released Tuesday by the Medina County Office for Older Adults.

Director Laura Toth presented year-end figures to the county commissioners, outlining ways the agency continues to grow in the services it provides.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in our home-delivered meal program,” Toth said. “It’s gone up 2,700 meals in the last two years, with no increase in staffing. I think that’s a really positive thing. People are working harder to get those meals out.”

Home-delivered meals took an upswing for the second consecutive year with 38,733 meals delivered in 2018. That was an increase of 940 meals from 2017 and 2,700 more than 2016.

At $2.67 per meal, the agency is spending thousands more each year to provide the same service. This is not easy for the agency, which cobbles together funding from multiple streams including allotments of about $20,000 each from Brunswick and Medina and another $12,000 from Wadsworth.

Toth has previously said the United Church of Christ, Congregational, located on Public Square, has donated $1,600 to pay for lunch for people who can’t afford it and her office is also establishing a 501(c)(3) with plans for fundraiser on Feb. 23.

Toth said it’s no surprise Brunswick leads the way with an average of 41 clients per month. There were 9,126 meals delivered to Brunswick clients last year — about 24 percent of the home-delivered meal program.

Medina had an average of 34 clients per month. That totaled 7,793 meals for 2018.

Overall, there was an average of 166 clients per month participating in the program.

Wadsworth’s Soprema Senior Center continues to lead the way in congregate meals with a total of 3,338 — far bypassing Medina, which served 867 meals in 2018.

“About 50 percent of our congregate meals served are at the Soprema Senior Center under our meal voucher program,” Toth said.

There was an average of 1,000 clients per month participating in the congregate meal program. Overall, 6,215 meals were served.

There was an average of 95 senior clients per month that used Medina County Public Transit, Toth said. They took 9,424 curb-to-curb trips in 2018.

“We’ve been busy,” Toth said. “It’s nice for a director to stand up here and say, ‘We’re busy. We’re working real hard.’ ”

She said Medina clients used one-third of the curb-to-curb trips. There was an average of 37 Medina clients per month. They took 3,081 trips in 2018 — 1,526 more than the number of trips taken by Brunswick clients.

“Those aren’t the loop trips,” Toth said. “Those are separate. These are direct transit trips to services that these people need.”

She said she was surprised Lodi Village had an average of just two clients per month.

“That does not equate to the need I have heard in the southwest region of the county,” she said.

Toth said she’d talk to leaders of the Lodi Family Center and some of the senior housing complexes in Lodi to encourage more ridership.

She said in the last three years, transit trips have been steady with an average of about 9,300 trips.

“There was a large cost increase in the raw trip price due to a 70-cent per mile increase in 2018,” Toth said.

She said in 2016 and 2017, the senior center paid $1.50 per mile on every trip. It went up to $2.20 per mile in 2018, largely because of gas prices.

“Utilization is consistent, but the cost of that program has gone up approximately $30,000,” Toth said.

Veterans in Medina County are able to use the MCPT for free.

“I have not seen any effect (of that),” Toth said. “We are calculating that. I have not seen any of the numbers yet. (Veterans Services Director) Ed Zackery and his commission have approved that program until June. Hopefully, they will keep that going through the rest of the year and beyond.

“We’re keeping a close watch on those numbers.”

Toth said there is a Ride-the-Loop promotion with the MCPT for Medina, Brunswick and Wadsworth. It’s free. Riders have to call and get registered.

In other news

  • Commissioners extended the contract for yard waste for one additional year with Smith Brothers. The price per ton increased from $19.99 to $21. The contract will expire Feb. 11, 2020.
  • Dr. A.V. Khandelwal has been hired to provide medical care for the residents of the Medina County Home through the end of the year. He will be paid $744 per month.
  • Trisha L. Norton has agreed to continue to perform beautician services through the end of the year for $330 per month at the Medina County Home.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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