Senior citizens served small portions of cold, inedible food

HAMILTON - Marion County senior citizens have been served cold and sometimes unedible food since a new Georgia-based catering service company took over a contract for local senior center meals.
Senior citizens voiced their disapproval of the new operations of the Elderly Nutrition Program, which is provided by Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG), at the Hamilton City Council meeting held on Monday, Oct. 15, at the Hamilton Police Department’s municipal courtroom.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page told senior citizens who were present that long-time contract-holder Valley Services Inc. of Flowood, Miss., who has held the contract for the last 15 years, was under-bid this last year by Georgia Food Industry Association of Smyrna, Ga.

Hamilton Senior Center Director Brenda Oswald has had to screen and send food back to the company when it is delivered at The Molly, which is serving as the temporary Senior Center as the E.T. Sims Neighborhood Facilities Building is currently being renovated.
The senior center serves 49 seniors at its facility and delivers 43 meals to shut-ins each day making it the  largest center in the area.

Page said that Oswald has had to go purchase meals to replace any that are not edible. The mayor assured that the company has and is reimbursing the city fo any food bought.
Page said that NACOLG Executive Director Keith Jones is troubled over the matter and is supposed to have the issue resolved by mid-November.
Jones said during a recent NACOLG meeting that the contract was contested in court; however, the bid had to be awarded.
Page said that the company was going to start being held liable to buy more food out-of-pocket if it can’t perform appropriately.

Oswald told a reporter from the Journal Record that the catering company has been delivering to Hamilton last on its route around the county. However, she says that the food is arriving cold everywhere.
Senior citizens worry that if something is not done, the senior group will get torn apart.
In a followup interview with Page, the mayor said that the situation had dramatically improved by Oct. 24. However, he said that the food association has been delivering direct to the city to assure the food is getting their hot and on time.

See complete story in the Journal Record.
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