Northampton Health Dept. continues Home Delivered Meals program

Published 5:29 pm Friday, October 2, 2020

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JACKSON – The Home Delivered Meals program from Northampton County’s Health Department will continue thanks to some relief funding and a new meal provider.

The County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved both agreements at their regular meeting here on Sept. 21 after Health Department Director Andy Smith presented the information.

The Home Delivered Meals program has been a service provided by the Health Department since 1984. Meals are provided to older citizens in the community with the greatest economic and social needs. Recipients are located all over the county, ranging from Henrico to Rich Square.

The first agreement was between the county and Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging. The organization is providing funding through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which will be used to ensure the program continues to operate.

A total of $15,770 will be rolled over to the current fiscal year to be used.

“This money is going to be used to purchase additional meals for our participants in the Home Delivered Meals program,” Smith explained. “This money will be greatly appreciated.”

The second agreement was to approve a meal provider for the program. The previous provider, who had been working with the county since 2015 at a cost of $6.75 per meal, recently informed the health department they were unable to continue with their contract.

Smith reported that Bee’s Gourmet, a catering service, would be willing to take over the contract at the same cost.

According to the agreement, the anticipated number of meals would be 40 to 60 meals daily.

“We’re fortunate we can continue on without interruption,” Smith announced. “We were just blessed that somebody was willing to continue [to provide the meals].”

Commissioner Nicole Boone motioned to approve both agreements, and Commissioner Joyce Buffaloe seconded. Votes for both were unanimously in favor.

While before the Board, Smith also provided a brief update about the COVID situation in the county. Most of the cases right now, he said, are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.

“The number one symptom right now is a loss of taste or lost of smell. We’re not seeing as much fever as we once were,” Smith explained. “It’s amazing how [the symptoms] can hit one person hard and the next person is fine. There’s no rhyme or reason.”

Board Chair Charles Tyner praised Smith, Dr. Frank Taylor, and the rest of the health department staff for their hard work to combat the pandemic.

“I just want to commend you. You’ll always get those people who say ‘I would do it differently,’ but thank you for keeping a level head and doing it according to science,” Tyner said.

“That’s what we believe in,” Smith agreed.