Sunday, February 28, 2010

Seniors to Receive Hot Meals

The new senior center at 400 East Front Street will become a group meal site, starting Monday (March 1, 2010), Freeholder Director Daniel Sullivan announced in a news release.

Click here for the full text of his announcement.

Senior Center member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq led a long campaign to get hot meals at the new center while seniors were still occupying the old facility at 305 East Front Street. He gathered signatures on a petition on May 2007 to have the program start when the seniors were expected to occupy the new center by December 2007. However, occupancy did not occur until November 2009,

In February 2009, Union County Division on Aging Executive Director Fran Benson visited the center to explain the program and urged seniors to visit the nearby nutrition site at Richmond Towers, a senior housing facility. Click here for Plaintalker's report on the meeting. Among concerns were proper handling of the hot meals and getting some sense of participation levels. About 150 seniors attend the center daily.

Fifty box lunches have been provided at minimal cost to seniors in recent months, and now the new program will begin with 50 hot meals daily.

A longtime community activist, Abdul-Haqq also led a successful campaign to get deteriorating railroad bridges in the West End repaired. Another of his causes was removal of a controversial painting from behind the judge's chair in Municipal Court. The Albert Bierstadt painting, "Landing of Columbus at San Salvador," depicted indigenous people bowing down to Columbus and his crew, which Abdul-Haqq found offensive to people of color. After repairs to the court house, the painting was placed on a side wall and Bierstadt's "Autumn in the Sierras" now hangs behind the judge's seat.

--Bernice Paglia


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