Monticello Senior Dining re-opens, welcomes new manager

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Senior Dining in Monticello is back up and running.

   Ginger Taylor of Monticello has been hired as the new site manager.

   “Everybody has been super sweet and very welcoming,” noted Taylor.

   “It’s working out great,” added Senior Dining Director Lisa Tallman.

   The Monticello site is located in the basement of St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 226 N. Cedar St.

   The site reopened on Nov. 15. There was some delay after Taylor was hired due to a shortage of overall staff with the program.

   “For two days at the beginning of November,” shared Tallman, “we had to re-do things because of staffing and only served hot home-delivered meals for both sites (Monticello and Anamosa). But things are getting better.”

   Taylor and her family recently moved to Monticello over the summer. She was a stay-at-home mom the last several years.

   “I wanted to get back out there,” she said of the work environment. “This is what I love to do; working with seniors and having fun.”

   Taylor has a background as a CNA (certified nursing assistant).

   “I also spent several years as an activities director at a care center,” she offered.

   Taylor said the job of Senior Dining site manager is a great fit with her schedule; she’s able to be home with her kids after school.

   She hopes to bring back many of the Senior Dining activities the seniors enjoy such as BINGO, live music, games, and puzzles.

   “I want to make sure those return and make sure people enjoy coming,” offered Taylor.

   Meals are served in Monticello at approximately 11:30 a.m. The site is open from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

   All meals are prepared in Anamosa and delivered hot to Monticello.

   The Monticello site has averaged about 10 to 15 people.

   “Twenty-five to 30 was normal pre-COVID,” Tallman said of what their numbers used to be.

   Anamosa sees about the same as Monticello.

   “We get better attendance when we have something going on,” Tallman said of bringing in entertainment.

   The Wyoming site is open two days a month, and averages about 30 seniors.

   Roughly 100 hot meals are also delivered daily to home-bound seniors.

   “COVID was hard on the senior population,” Tallman said of the isolation. “It took a toll on so many.”

   Those who wish to take part in Senior Dining meals, whether in Monticello or Anamosa, must make reservations in advance. You can call 319-462-4484 to reserve a meal. (If no one answers, you’re encouraged to leave a message.)

   “It’d be good to reserve a day in advance; the sooner the better,” Tallman urged.

   Since Taylor started in her new role, Tallman said she’s received positive feedback.

   “They like her over there,” she praised.

   “The seniors are really excited to be back,” added Taylor.

   Senior Dining is also experiencing the effects of higher food costs and supply chain issues. Tallman has struggled to get lettuce and corn starch.

   “It’s hit and miss, but I keep trying,” she said. “Substitutes (food items) are more expensive for the name brand.”

   During a recent Jones County Supervisor meeting, Tallman shared that with the cost of food right now, each meal costs about $8.40. She receives $3.51 from Heritage Agency to help reimburse the cost. There is a $5 suggested contribution toward each meal; $6 for home-deliveries.

   Even at those rates, Senior Dining could still benefit from donations. Donations can be sent to Jones County Senior Dining, 112 N. Ford St., Anamosa, IA 52205. All donations are tax exempt.


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