Area residents, who receive nutritious meals through Peace Meal, will see no change in the way the program operates when its administration transitions to Sarah Bush Lincoln on October 1.
The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) reversed an earlier decision by East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging (ECIAAA) and awarded the administration and funding of the Peace Meal program to Sarah Bush Lincoln.
“We’re pleased with this new decision. Our plans are to keep Peace Meal completely intact. It has a 40-year successful track record of providing home-delivered nutritious meals, as well as serving them in congregate settings. This is an important link to keeping people healthy, and making sure those who are home bound, are safe,” said Dennis Pluard, Sarah Bush Lincoln vice president of Operations.
Pluard added that Peace Meal will continue with its four-day-a-week delivery system, but will investigate the opportunity to bring back the five-day-a-week program. Barbra Wylie, who has led the program for seven years, will continue as its director. Its 100 employees, mostly part-time employees, will become Sarah Bush Lincoln employees, as well, on October 1.
Pluard heralded the area residents who voiced their opinions, held rallies and petition drives and spoke with their State delegation, including State Rep. Chapin Rose, who advocated on their behalf following the decision to award the program to CRIS of Danville. CRIS planned to deliver frozen meals to area residents.
State Senator Chapin Rose commented about an Illinois Department of Aging special review process.
“After attending sessions in Clinton and Sullivan where, literally, hundreds of seniors and senior care support staff voiced concerns and spoke in opposition to the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging decisions with respect to this matter, I asked the Department of Aging to conduct an outside, independent review of the situation,” Rose said. “Several other legislators also asked for intervention from the Department in addition to numerous members of the senior care community and complaints from those directly affiliated with program.”