Volunteers needed for meal routes

Home delivery program for seniors needs 2 JC rural routes filled

MIFFLINTOWN – Chad Sample with the Mifflin Juniata Regional Services, was on conference call with the Juniata County commissioners Tuesday to discuss the need for volunteers for the Home Delivery Meal Program. The program currently serves 130 seniors in Juniata County from two locations, the River Church in Mifflintown and McAlisterville Senior Center at the Lions Den in McAlisterville.

The program relies on volunteer drivers to deliver the meals to the senior’s homes. Currently the program is looking for volunteers for two Juniata County rural routes. The volunteers would fill in for the regular drivers when they are sick, on vacation or are unable to make deliveries that day. Sample said prior to making deliveries on a route the volunteers will have an opportunity to ride along with the regular drivers so they can become familiar with the route.

Drivers for the program are compensated for the miles they drive while delivering meals.

Sample said the program is looking for help covering two rural routes of East Waterford and Thompsontown. The East Waterford route which operates out of the Four Seasons Senior Center in Mifflintown is approximately 80 miles and takes around 2 ¢ hours to complete the deliveries. The second route the program is looking to cover is the Thompsontown route which operates out of the McAlisterville Senior Center and takes approximately 2 hours to deliver meals.

Sample said that along with the meals the deliveries offer much needed social interaction for the seniors. “Volunteers are an extension of the agency and many times they are the ones having direct contact with our consumers especially in rural areas. So it’s a very vital program that we offer.”

Anyone interested in volunteering with the home delivery meal program can contact Chad Sample at (717) 320-8224.

Also from the Mifflin Juniata Area Agency on Aging May Ann Demi was on the conference call and gave an update on senior COVID-19 vaccinations. “We’ve been working with Geisinger and one of the local places as well to provide transportation for seniors to get to the hospital and back for the vaccine.” Demi said. However, Demi said the one problem that faces the agency is getting the vaccine to homebound seniors who are receiving nursing care at their homes and can’t easily be transported to the hospital. Demi said once the vaccine becomes more readily available the agency looks to open the senior centers for vaccines sites.

Also, during the meeting Juniata County Library director Vince Giordano shared the library’s 2020 annual report via the conference call. Giordano started by saying he looks forward to giving the annual report every year. “The Juniata County government gives $90,000 a year to the library which is about half of our funding. So they and the community deserve to know where all that money is going and how it’s being put to work.”

Due to pandemic restrictions the library closed it’s building in March of 2020 and had to find different ways to provide services to the community. ” We were basically faced with an extraordinary challenge in challenging times and we stepped up to provide an extraordinary service I believe. And it helped that we had a really supportive community, that was flexible, patient and understanding.

Giordano said the library was constantly dealing with the task of balancing out protecting staff, serving the community while also being financially responsible. “I think we actually did that. We received a PPP loan, we installed cough guards around our front desk and we actually finished 2020 with a budget surplus.” Giordano said.

The library was able to serve the community both virtually and safely in person. Giordano said the library was well prepared to handle the physical shift in services when the pandemic hit the region. Before the pandemic the library re-designed their website and made it, as Giordano described as “more robust and user friendly.” In 2020 the library increased it’s digital book collection to over 30,000 titles that can be checked out online and listened to on a tablet or smart device. The library also provided a weekly email newsletter to give customers updates on current services and protocols.

Girodano said the library also began lending out Chromebooks for free. “They are really great to have because it gives full screen access to the internet that’s not possible from a phone.” The library had 10,702 digital ebook and eAudio check outs which was a 42% increase from 2019. Giordano said the library had readers tell them that having the digital content really helped them not go stir crazy during quarantine and while the library was closed.

The library also had 42,302 views and virtual interactions with the virtual storytime and digital content throughout 2020. “It was great that we could offer this because virtually it gave flexibility to everyone, to families and individuals so that they could watch or rewatch our content on a schedule that worked for them.” The internet hotspots and Chromebooks that the library provides were used 104 times in 2020. “We had people tell us they really came in handy when their kids, multiple kids needed to do school work at once or when they moved into a new home and needed internet.” Giordano said.

2,016 new physical items were added to the library’s collection as well in 2020. A list of all the new releases was created along with reviews and recommendations. During last year the 25,650 print items were checked out and the library added 270 new library cardholders.

“You the commissioners, the Juniata County government, the community, you helped to make all that possible by supporting the library and I’m extremely grateful for it.” Giordano said. The 2020 annual report is available on the library’s website at juniatalibrary.org.

The following action was also taken during the meeting:

Acknowledged the resignation of Rae E. Bossinger from her full-time position within the Emergency Management Services Department effective as of the end of business on February 17, 2021.

Approved the tax exonerations for Lack Township as per the material provided.

Approved the “Purchase of Service Agreement” between Juniata County Children and Youth Services, the Juniata County Probation Department, and Community Specialists Corporation. The agreement shall be in force and effect from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

Ratified the following CDBG-IDIS check as submitted by the Juniata County Planning and Community Development Department. #1262 $577.50 cb3 Solutions, LLC. Project Costs

Ratified the following Juniata County Hazardous Materials check. #1377 $1,798.00 Juniata County Commissioners Expense Reimbursement

Approved payment of checks #60491 – #60535 in the amount of $59,003.14.


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