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Meals on Wheels serves hundreds in Newton

COVINGTON -- Newton County Senior Services Meals on Wheels program served 770 clients and delivered 18,314 meals between January and August, according to a report given by Teresa Williams, Meals on Wheels coordinator and assistant director of Senior Services.

Meals on Wheels also accepted 36 new clients during that time, said Williams, who gave her report during a Sept. 13 meeting of the Senior Services Board of Directors.

The majority of funding for Meals on Wheels comes from the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission. Medicaid also provides funding for some low-income individuals to have the service, and grants are provided by federal, state and local agencies and organizations. Locally Snapping Shoals EMC and the Covington-Newton County United Way provide yearly grants. There are also 20 clients on private pay, where family members pay for their meals.

There is currently a waiting list of 65 Newton residents for the Meals on Wheels program, Williams said. The list is maintained by the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, which screens prospective clients to determine if they are qualified for the program. Those with severe health conditions are usually given top priority. Most clients are age 60 or older.

A recent donation of more than $5,000 from the estate of a former client will allow another four people to come off the waiting list and receive meals for a year, Williams said.

Private individuals can donate to the program or sponsor a senior for $77 per month, which covers one meal a day, Monday through Friday. Anyone interested can call Senior Services at 770-787-0038 or stop by the Senior Center at Turner Lake Complex, located at 6185 Turner Lake Road. Volunteer applications are also available there.

In other news, Senior Services had 252 membership renewals and 127 new members to register between July 2011 and June. In addition, there have been 48 renewals in July and August and 23 new memberships. Those numbers do not include seniors who are on a paid scholarship program or visitors to the Senior Center who are not members.

A total of 39,724 seniors were served by the center from July 2011 through June. In July, 2,525 visits to the center were reported, and 3,628 in August. The visits are reported on a monthly basis and clients are counted as many times as they visit.