Senior Meal Connect in Jellico helps elderly on tight budgets

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JELLICO, Tenn. (WATE) — In North Campbell County, on the edge of the Kentucky border is Jellico, Tennessee, an impoverished community. Its elderly residents have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic because it’s not safe for them to leave their homes.

The Area Agency on Aging is making sure older people have enough to eat.

On Wednesday, a van full of food made its monthly run to Jellico, where dozens of people were waiting, and when it did, they were so grateful to receive the food.

When the truck from Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee arrived in Jacksboro shortly after 9 a.m., it took about half an hour to unload more than 100 boxes of food from it, and then transfer the heavy boxes of perishable and non-perishable items into the Senior Meal Connect van.

The food will be given to people over the age of 60 who live on a limited income.

“We meet here on the third Wednesday of every month. We pick that because that’s when the elderly folks tend to run short on food.”

Director Becky Pierce for Campbell County Office Area Agency on Aging

After a 40-minute trip north to Jellico, volunteers from Magnolia Terrace and the Jellico Housing Authority unload the food and begin distributing it.

Many of those served Wednesday live on fixed incomes ranging from $800 to $1,200 a month. For those who receive the food, they’re grateful because their tight budgets are stretched.

“This helps us out for about two weeks at a time. We don’t know what we would do without them.”

Shelia Weaver

Senior Meal Connect is sponsored by local and state dollars, from the Area Agency on Aging and the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency, ETHRA.

That van has been making trips to Jellico and to Magnolia Terrace for several years, but now with COVID-19, delivery of the food is made even more important.

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