Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
The Crawford Senior Center has kept busy assisting seniors, throughout the pandemic. Although they are closed to in-person activities, that didn’t stop them from offering virtual and drive-through activities. Senior Center director Jennifer Hollifield explained to the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night just how they are going about offering services.
“Although we had to switch from offering meals indoors, we were able to go with the drive through congregate meal offerings,” said Hollifield.
Each weekday, volunteers man the drive-through tents to hand out hot meals to members of the Senior Center. During the months of May through August, two additional meals were offered every Friday to take home for the weekend. Homebound meals are also still being delivered to residents, thanks to help from Macon County Transit drivers. Senior Center employees are making phone calls to offer well checks to adult day members. COVID-19 calls are also being made to help seniors understand the governor’s executive orders.
The center held a fan giveaway last month in which seniors simply drove up to the center and received a rotating fan at no cost to them. In total, 22 fans were given away. Every Thursday the tent is up for seniors to stop by and get a free face mask. The masks are donated by a resident who has been busy sewing hundreds of masks to ensure that any senior in need can get one. Zoom classes are going strong and include Tai Chi, Yoga, and chat rooms where members can get together and converse with friends, that they would otherwise be missing, due to the center being closed. Recently a drive through BINGO game was implemented. Members were handed two BINGO cards when they picked up their lunch at the drive through, and numbers will be called every weekday and also posted on Facebook. Hollifield explained, “although we lost half of our volunteers we are still planning to offer more activities throughout this year.”
The activities that are planned for future events include a drive-through flu clinic, and a Veterans Day flag giveaway to recognize vets. The center will also be offering a free balance testing in the parking lot in recognition of National Fall Awareness week, which is Sept 21 – 25. A Halloween drive-through trick or treat is in the works as is the Tree of Thanksgiving Event. This event will offer seniors the option to write a note about something they are thankful for and then place it on the tree which will be displayed on the premises for all to see. Christmas will not go unnoticed either. The crew is planning a drive through “iconic” movie scene act-out. Employees and volunteers will be acting out parts from movies such as, when Ralphie from the movie “A Christmas Story,” got his tongue stuck to an ice pole. The Grinch will also be represented along with other memorable scenes from holiday movies.
A new carport is going to be built so that employees and volunteers can assist seniors and be protected from the heat and potential inclement weather.
MVI gets help with Green Power project
In other news from the Commissioner’s Meeting, Jennifer Love, Macon County Schools STEM Coordinator, gave an update on how the N. C. Green Power initiative was progressing. N. C. Green Power has offered a grant to install solar panels, at Mountain View Intermediate School (MVI). Love has been busy trying to raise the $6,000 needed to be able to install the solar panels, which would generate an energy savings of $800 per year, which is a total of $32,000 over the 40-year lifetime of the panels. Love was able to obtain all but $1,500 toward the grant, which will expire on Sept. 30 and MVI would have to forfeit their funds. She said that she had several offers from companies but has yet to receive the money. The Board of Commissioners decided to give Love the $1,500 needed to go forward with the project. They will see their money returned in just two years with the $1,600 savings generated by the panels, from the electric bill at MVI. If more than $6,000 end up coming in, Green Power will provide a larger panel, to recognize an even bigger profit from the installation. The grant includes the installation, electrical costs and maintenance of the panels. It also includes training for five teachers regarding how the panels work providing the opportunity to incorporate what they learned into the students’ curriculum, which aligns with the fifth and sixth grade science standards.