By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
There is a new face at the Monticello Senior Dining site. Judy Krouse of Monticello has taken on the role of Site Manager for Senior Dining, replacing Jody Graff who left to take on another job opportunity. Krouse will work as the local site manager five days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jones County Senior Dining Director Lisa Tallman said she was forced to reduce the Monticello site manager’s hours from six down to four hours a day. Tallman explained with Senior Dining located at the John McDonald Medical & Educational Center, they are able to have the girls with Four Oaks assist in daily jobs, such as laundry and washing dishes.
“There has been more help here than Jody’s had in the past,” said Tallman. The workload hasn’t been as strenuous as in the past, leading Tallman to reduce the site manager’s hours. “It was needed when we were at the Berndes Center, but not here,” addressed Tallman.
She said if things ever change with Four Oaks’ position at the John McDonald Medical & Educational Center, they might have to revisit the hours of operation.
Krouse, with a background in business and nutrition, said there is more to the job than meets the eye.
‘There is a lot of paperwork involved,” said Krouse after just a three-day crash course. Tallman explained they have to file so much paperwork because of the federal funding the Senior Dining program receives.
Krouse has worked with the hot lunch program at Carpenter Elementary School prior to getting hired with Senior Dining.
“The volunteers have been great here with transitioning into the job,” said Krouse of the assistance with the senior citizens who attend the senior meals.
Krouse has helped with senior meal delivery as well; her husband, Ted, is currently driving and delivering meals as well.
“I’m glad things worked out this way,” Krouse said of landing the position. “It’s a lot slower paced job and I will be working more hours than I did at the school.”
Tallman said it was Krouse’s experience with food service that makes her a great site manager.
Krouse said one thing she wants to start doing is more activities for the seniors as part of the dining program.
“I enjoy being here and with these people,” she said.
While the senior dining site in Monticello is located at the Senior Center, Krouse will just be running the dining program, not the center.
Recently, there has been much discussion concerning funding for Senior Dining. Tallman said their program’s application was approved through The Heritage Area Agency on Aging, which is excellent news! She said only three out of 11 applications for funding were approved, Jones County being one of them.
“Heritage provides 60 percent of our funding,” Tallman noted.
The other 40 percent consists of county and city funding through Jones County. Tallman recently asked the Jones County Board of Supervisors for a $10,000 funding request. The remaining $10,000 is then divided among the cities.
“It’s a suggested contribution,” said Tallman. “All of the requests have been sent out. She has not heard how much each entity is willing to provide towards the program.
“It’s hard for people to understand how the program works,” said Tallman.
In getting the Monticello Senior Center up and running, it requires people willing to volunteer to man the center, whether it’s seniors themselves or community volunteers.
“It’s hard to get people to commit,” Tallman noted, “to operate this facility.”