By John A. Ballentine
A group of 21 Senior citizens met with Bradford Village representatives to hear about a proposal to restart the Senior meal program at Bradford’s village hall building. Present from the village board trustees were spokesman Bob Boehm, Candice Gill and Wendy Moodie. Also present were Village Clerk Diana Cobb and Village Treasurer Julie Gage.
The proposal entails having The Highlands restaurant cater the mid-day meals, which would be similar to the past service. The Seniors would pay a cost of $4 per meal, with an advanced reservation required. Patty McCurdy, of The Highlands, will be preparing meals Tuesdays through Saturdays and a breakfast meal on Sundays. The hours are from 10:30 to 2 p.m. and the phone number is 309-897-8300.
Boehm began the meeting by stating, “I wanted MSW to come and apologize about misrepresentations from their employees to you, the Seniors.” Boehm said he asked MSW (Marshall, Stark, Woodford Counties) for an explanation to events that occurred prior to MSW closing their service in Bradford. He explained that “it got blown out of proportion”, thus ending with the MSW closure of the Bradford Nutrition Site meals program.
Boehm then read a proposed letter to MSW, which he emphasized as “completely off the record.” Boehm’s letter was read in its entirety to the Seniors present and they were asked by Boehm, “Should I reword this, should I go to MSW and present this to them, or should I mail this to MSW? Or, should I do nothing at all?”
The Seniors voted that Boehm should mail his letter to MSW. It was suggested by a Senior that Boehm mail his letter to the Illinois Center on Aging, as well. The letter basically is a chronological listing of events that occurred prior to MSW closing the Bradford Nutrition Site.
Speaking to the Seniors next was Patty McCurdy who explained how her catering program would operate. McCurdy said her program would be similar as what the Seniors had before. “I also included that you could eat at the restaurant the same meal as provided at the Senior Center, in Village Hall. The only difference is it would cost a dollar more (or $5) and the reason is I would give that dollar to the wait staff who waits on you as a tip,” McCurdy explained.
“Because I am catering the food here, there are no rules like MSW had. The meals can be carried out. This program is actually going to offer you more options for more days than what you had before,” McCurdy concluded about the program.
McCurdy then added, “Another thing is and this is sort of my idea and we’re coming into Spring, but this summer we thought we’d have our own little Farmer’s Market here. If you have a garden and you have extra and you’d like to donate it, we will incorporate that into the food that we serve here.”
Bradford Village Board Trustee Wendy Moodie pointed out, “Our goal is that we want you guys (the Seniors) to have more control, so one of the goals is to make it a Senior Program.”
Boehm concluded the meeting by saying, “the reason the refrigerator, stoves and other things were taken is because the grant was written saying MSW owned those items.
“Whatever program is offered to you, the Seniors, it has to be a break even proposition. As a community, we don’t want to see another vacant building. And we don’t want Patty to start a program that suddenly starts losing money,” Boehm said.
“So this has to honestly be on a trial basis to begin with to make sure it works for you. As a Senior Club, you need an organization. That way in the future you can make the decisions, otherwise someone else will be making the decisions and I don’t think that’s what you want,” Boehm explained.
Finally, McCurdy was asked why she is doing this. She answered, “The need was presented and I thought it was something I could do to help. I didn’t want to see the Seniors lose the program here, in town.”