Madison County Chairman Kurt PrenzlerEDWARDSVILLE — Madison County is partnering with senior service agencies and local restaurants to deliver a special dinner to the elderly and/or disabled who are shut in this holiday season.

Madison County Community Development (MCCD) is working with Senior Services Plus in Alton, Main Street Community Center in Edwardsville and Highland Meals on Wheels to provide funding for the holiday delivery event. The meals will be prepared by 10 locally owned restaurants.

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“This event not only provides a special meal to the most vulnerable population in our county, but also supports small businesses,” Chairman Kurt Prenzler said.

Community Development administrator Trudy Bodenbach said MCCD would be covering the cost of the holiday meals using Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds. She said MCCD received CARES Act funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in an effort to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the elderly and disabled populations need the meals on wheels program now more than ever,” Bodenbach said. “We are proud to partner with these organizations not only to provide a special meal for those who are shut-in this holiday season, but also use this as an opportunity to help local restaurants that are struggling because of the states mitigation, which has temporarily shut down inside dining.”

Senior Services Plus, which delivers meals to a large portion of Madison County residents, plans to deliver 800 holiday meals through this program. This agency will be getting dinner from El Mezcal, Geno's 140 Club and Laux Brickhouse Grille in Bethalto and Good Knight Cupcakes and Cookies in Wood River will provide dessert

“These restaurants were chosen because they made the difficult decision to shutter their business while our county is currently in the Phase 3 mitigation plan, which restricts indoor dining,” Theresa Collins, CEO of Senior Services Plus said.

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The Edwardsville Main Street Community Center, which serves the greater Edwardsville and Glen Carbon areas, is working with Mother’s Catering and Sugarfire Smokehouse.

“The Main Street Community Center provides meals to its program participants five days a week,” Director of the Main Street Community Center Sara Berkbigler said. “This allows volunteers to check in on program participants, making sure that they are safe and doing OK.”

Berkbigler said program participants are often waiting at the door to greet their meal delivery people, because that is often their only contact with the outside world. In addition, Berkbigler said that the meal delivery that the seniors receive is often the only food that they get that day, so many times the seniors will ration their meal to make it last them the entire day.

Highland Meals on Wheels will be delivering 65 Holiday meals to Highland area residents. Meals will come from Urban Farmhouse, Blue Springs and Highland Diner for their Holiday dinners and Patty Cakes for the dessert.

“We are proud to help support our local restaurants who are struggling as a result of the restrictions associated with COVID-19,” Highland Meals on Wheels Director Mary Rottman said.

Bodenbach said during these unprecedented times there is an increased need for services.

“If you need help, and are not sure what services are available for you or your family, please feel free to reach out to the Madison County Referral Line at (618) 296-5300 to begin the referral process and help you find assistance,” Bodenbach said.

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