2008-03-07 / Editorial/Opinion

Keep The Hot Meals - And The Conversations - Coming

Many of the city's elderly and their advocates are fuming over the Bloomberg administration's rush to revamp or close many of the city's senior centers. As part of that overhaul, which would turn the remaining facilities into "wellness centers" featuring exercise and diet, the city will soon end the vaunted "Meals On Wheels" program, in which neighborhood centers, such as those in Rockaway, deliver hot meals to the homebound elderly. In their place will come a weekly supply of frozen, ready-to-eat dinners delivered by a new set of vendors. The new program was tested in the Bronx and was nearly universally panned by both the seniors and their advocates. For many, that meal was the only hot meal available to seniors who may not be up to the task of even using a microwave oven to reheat food. In addition, it was often the only time during the day that homebound seniors got a chance to have a conversation with a live human being. That will now end. Perhaps the new program is more cost-effective. We don't doubt that. The question that Bloomberg and his advisors need to answer, however, is whether or not the program is more humane. Our homebound seniors deserve more than a box of frozen TV dinners delivered once a week by an uncaring delivery person.

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