By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Many of the community’s senior citizens rely on the Senior Center each week for hot, nutritious meals during the week, as well as camaraderie with fellow residents. That has temporarily been put on hold, however, as all city facilities are on lockdown, including City Hall, the Newkirk Public Library and Senior Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already hit home in Kay County. The Senior Center has been providing food packages the seniors can take home, and now, thanks to a generous donation from an Enid, Okla. food service company, they can provide a hot meal for seniors each Wednesday in April.
The donation was provided by Tyson Foods, Inc. and Ben E. Keith, a food service supplier. The donation was provided through the Long Term Care Authority (LTCA), Enid, which assists area nonprofit groups in north central Oklahoma, including the Newkirk Senior Center.
“We get a grant of $791 a month from the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, and LTCA are the ones that distribute the grant to me,” said Senior Center Director Serena Welch. “They work with senior centers, people who feed the elderly, like Wheatheart.”
The donation consisted of about 350 to 400 pounds of frozen meat products, including Philly beef steaks, beef chunks, chicken and biscuits, chicken nuggets and chicken fried steaks. Several city representatives made a trip to Tyson Foods recently to obtain the donation, including Welch, along with Fire Chief Adam Longcrier. The food is being stored at the Senior Center as well as Newkirk Fire Department. The food will now be cooked for seniors to pick up each Wednesday from 12 – 1 p.m. at the Senior Center.
“We’re going to give a hot, nutritious mean to them every Wednesday in the drive -through,” Welch said. “Anyone that needs to supplement grocery money can call me directly, and I can make up some bags for them that they can have on their own.”
They are additionally assisting First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in feeding several families in the community.
“We’re working with FUMC to get some of those donated Tyson items to about 15 families in the community,” Welch said.
The feeding programs at the Senior Center are important, as many seniors may have trouble getting out in the pandemic, and these services are helping ensure they will still have a nutritious meals during the week.
“I think it was such a great opportunity, for everybody who is having to be quarantined, the elderly who can’t get out to the store, some people have lots their jobs due to this, and they will be able to supplement them and their children,” Welch said. “We don’t want anybody going hungry during these times.”
For more information, contact the Senior Center, at (580) 362-1409 or contact Welch directly at (405) 213-5360.