Flagler County’s Congregate Meals program marked two milestones in a celebration Monday at the George Wickline Senior Center in Flagler Beach: The 25th anniversary serving meals at Wickline, and the 40th anniversary of the meals program, originally started the former Flagler County Council on Aging.
“There is a lot of continuity,” said Joanne Hinkel, associated with senior services in Flagler County since 1982. “One of our ladies had been coming in for meals for nearly 30 years, but she moved after Hurricane Matthew.”
Those who regularly meet at the Wickline Center for congregate meals range from 84 to 103 years old.
“The program has changed quite a bit over the years,” said Flagler County Community Services Director Joe Mayer. “What hasn’t changed is the need for the service.”
But one thing that also hasn’t changed, except by going down, is the budget for congregate meals: In 2007 the county’s budget for congregate meals was $367,000, split between personnel costs and operating costs, with federal funds accounting for about $115,000 of the revenue. The budget this year, with a population significantly larger? $293,000. Federal funding, which includes home meals, is at $120,000. The congregate meals program is projected to provide almost 7,000 meals this year, ansd four times that number for meals on wheels.
When the program started in 1978, meals were served in the City Halls of Flagler Beach and Bunnell. In 1983, the Bunnell operation moved to the then newly-built, multi-purpose center at 1000 Belle Terre Boulevard – now home to the David I. Siegel Adult Day Center.
In 1993, the program moved from the Flagler Beach City Hall to the George Wickline Senior Center located at 800 S. Daytona Avenue, Flagler Beach. This move was made possible through the combined efforts of the Flagler Beach City Commission – which allocated $50,000 – and the Council on Aging’s fundraising efforts to complete needed renovations and remodeling of the school “cafetorium.”
“Flagler County had no transportation system in the early days, but the Council on Aging had two buses to give people rides,” Hinkel said.
Hot, nutritionally-balanced meals are served at noon Monday through Friday to eligible Flagler County seniors 60 years and older. The Wickline Center also offers opportunities to socialize, guest speakers and entertainment.
Legal services are now available at the Wickline Center through Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida. Appointments must be prescheduled through Patricia Cole at 407-936-7687. Appointments are available on the following dates: February 12 and 27; and, March 5, 22, and 26.
Step ‘N Line Dance, a new dance and exercise event, has sessions at 11 a.m. on February 7 and 21.
The George Wickline Senior Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.