The Londonderry Senior Resources Committee (SRC) is reaching out to others through a number of initiatives.
At its Dec. 20 meeting, the committee discussed several programs they hope to implement after the first of the year.
Members John Goglia and Susan Haussler and alternate Doug Thomas will be visiting 10 55-plus communities to explain the mission, current accomplishments and future plans of the committee, or SRC. The members will ask seniors what they want the SRC to focus on, along with concerns, ideas and suggestions.
Chairman Bonnie Roberts also discussed an initiative called Fresh For Seniors, which will partner with local grocery stores to offer a discount on fresh produce for a limited time to registered participants. Roberts wrote in an explanatory letter that the SRC has become of “a need of fresh produce for some financially-challenged senior residents.” Roberts explained that while some residents make use of local food pantries, others have special diets or medical conditions that preclude the consumption of the processed foods found in most food pantries.
Roberts said that providing discounted fresh produce would be a way to give back to the community, “especially as it will serve those residents who built and developed our town into the successful community we enjoy today.”
Member Dolores Stoklosa observed that offering the produce on a certain day, between certain hours, would get seniors into that store that might not otherwise go there.
Roberts said details of the program could be developed after participating stores sign on. “There is no point in going deep into the ‘how’ unless we know we have participants,” she said.
Interested store managers may contact her at 426-5438 or email@example.com. Town Manger Kevin Smith is aware of the program and may be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org or 432-1100 ext. 120.
In other business, the committee discussed the efforts of the Town Council explore alternatives to CART, the Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation. CART board member Martin Srugis was a guest at the meeting and said he had gone back in the minutes of the SRC and noticed that CART discussions were on the agenda several times.
“I know we had driver issues in the past, and I know we don’t currently have a director,” he said.
Members noted that one of the issues is CART’s availability. The service is available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and some seniors need rides to dialysis and other appointments at 6 a.m. People can get rides to the VA in Manchester, but if their appointment or service goes beyond 2 p.m. they are stranded, members said. Other members pointed out that CART’s two-week notice requirement doesn’t work if one has a procedure and a follow-up is booked for the next day.
But members also agreed that many of the previous “issues” with CART had been resolved. Member Sherry Farrell said, “A couple of years ago there were a lot of issues. A new director came in and it was like a breath of fresh air.” But services such as CART tend to go in cycles, Farrell added, and “We need to look to the future before we get in another down cycle.”
Other members expressed concern that CART drivers don’t get out of the van to help people up or down steps. “It could be a liability issue,” Roberts speculated, and Srugis said he would ask the agency about its policy.
The future of CART is looking better, Srugis said, noting that Scott Vogel of the SNHPC has taken temporary direction and “is on top of things.” The agency is looking at contracting with a school bus company to run daily operations, he said.
There is also a driver shortage, Srugis said, and that has forced the agency to cut back on runs. “When there aren’t enough drivers, you tend to stop calling,” he observed.
Srugis said he would bring their questions to CART and report back.
The SRC took no position on CART or on the town starting its own service.