Commission members: Rosalind Kopfstein, Chairman; Hilda Rhodes, Jean Whitham, Janet Cianci, Henry Polio
Others present: Gail Schiron, Marie Sibilio
Mrs. Kopstein called the February 12, 2014 meeting to order at 9:02 am in the Community Center. A quorum was not present. No action was taken during the meeting.
Mrs. Schiron reported on the following:
- 2014-15 Budget: Mrs. Schiron noted that the budget was reviewed at the Board of Selectman’s Budget Workshop. The primary discussion centered on the Program revenue not covering the expenses of the program. Suggestions included consideration of holding a fundraiser to offset expenses and raising fees. Those present discussed the concept of a fundraiser but felt it was not feasible or practical.
- Redding Shares the Warmth program: Mrs. Schiron reported that donations have been generous. Hilda Rhodes and Bill Morris made a presentation at the Congregational Church which resulted in a generous donation from participants.
- Calls for shoveling the snow: Mrs. Schiron receives calls from seniors requesting help with the snow. These requests are channeled through the First Selectman’s office to the Redding Boys & Girls Club. Mrs. Schiron has consulted with Highway Superintendent Hanson for issues of clearing driveways in situations where an ambulance might be needed. Mr. Hanson is working on a solution.
- Food Pantry: The food pantry is well stocked and Mrs. Schiron thanked the many residents and groups who have contributed food goods and products.
- Van: a minor incident with the van in Bethel resulted in discovering that the drivers (both the regular driver and the substitute driver) are required to hold a special “F” license, and the van is required to have Town of Redding license plates. Until these requirements are met, the van cannot be used. The use of the department’s town cars will be used for transporting those who require the service.
REPORT ON ACTIVITIES
Mrs. Sibilio reported on the following:
- The History Series is doing well. Art Gottlieb did a presentation on aviation, and another is planned on the Statute of Liberty.
- Gift wrapping at the Mall: Mrs. Sibilio received a certificate of appreciation from Habitat for Humanity and an invitation to participate again next year.
- Asian Brushstroke demonstration and workshop: this program was well attended.
- Movies: snow day closures have cancelled planned showings of movies.
- Valentine day goodies: chocolate candies and cards were created for delivery to Hospice.
Luncheon Options: Mrs. Metzger was not present, but provided a written report.
I did some extensive price gathering at Costco and regular supermarkets and found that we could pay for the food necessary for lunches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Heritage Center with increased fees. The problem is finding funds for the preparation of these meals. It had been suggested that we look into volunteers from local churches, the synagogue and Neighbors and Newcomers. Sadly, I think that will not work for the following reasons. First, when you are depending upon volunteers there is always the chance that someone will suddenly be unable to do it. In the past, we have had occasional problems with Meals on Wheels. Second, once a month most of the churches in town provide food for the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen. We would be asking them to provide means a second week of the month. In addition, this would be a 2-3 hour commitment at the Heritage Center instead of being able to cook at home.
In talking with Gail, I determined that part of the problem with the meals is that they have not been prepared properly. A week or so ago, there was a substitute who prepared the meals. She provided some extras, i.e. tartar sauce which spiced up the food and she did not overcook everything. Although this may not be the final answer, Gail was going to look into how the food is prepared at the Center and see if there can be improvement there.
If we cannot solve this problem with better food preparation, we may have to look into some sort of fundraiser to provide funds to cover the cost of kitchen help or return to the prior practice in which the staff prepared the meals. Obviously this is a difficult problem which cannot be ignored. Hopefully we will come to some sort of answer.
Those present at the meeting discussed Janet’s report and were in agreement that the primary issue may be one of proper food preparation and enhancement of what food is provided by CW Resources. Mrs. Schiron reported that condiments are provided in the pantry and could be used with greater frequency. The staff will work on the issue of proper food preparation with the person in charge of the luncheon food.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 5, 2014 at 9:00 am at the Heritage Center.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:55 am.
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary