Tuesday Night Rally Full of Vigor as Seniors Question Upcoming Frozen Meals

Full VFW room echoes with questions of “why?” as Oct. 1 deadline looms

by Katie A. Davis
Sullivan Reporter
Photo by Keith Stewart Katherine Butt of Sullivan listens as area seniors took to the VFW in Sullivan Tuesday night, filling its banquet hall in order to ask questions as well as vent about their frustration over the expected shift to frozen meals come October 1.  After Eastern Illinois University announced earlier this year that it would cease sponsoring the Senior Peace Meal Program, a bidding process began that eventually awarded CRIS Healthy Aging Center of Vermilion County.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Katherine Butt of Sullivan listens as area seniors took to the VFW in Sullivan Tuesday night, filling its banquet hall in order to ask questions as well as vent about their frustration over the expected shift to frozen meals come October 1. After Eastern Illinois University announced earlier this year that it would cease sponsoring the Senior Peace Meal Program, a bidding process began that eventually awarded CRIS Healthy Aging Center of Vermilion County.

Local seniors want to keep their hot meals.

That was the sentiment expressed by local senior advocates at a Tuesday rally to save Peace Meal, a senior nutrition program that provides hot meals to local seniors in need four days a week.

Peace Meal will serve its last meals Sept. 30. Starting Oct. 1, the CRIS Healthy Aging Center, based in Vermilion County, will provide frozen dinners for distribution to local seniors, to be delivered twice a week.

Eastern Illinois University announced earlier this year it would no longer continue sponsorship of the Peace Meal program, sparking a bidding process that included a new sponsor for Peace Meal, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center.

Only two bids — CRIS Meals and Peace Meal — were submitted to the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging, which funds the senior nutrition program, and according to Mike O’Donnell, the agency’s executive director, the CRIS bid exceeded marks for many categories such as the number of meals it projects to serve.

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