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Blaine County has received a Community Development Block Grant for Public Services from the Idaho Department of Commerce. This grant was made possible by the CARES Act and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with the purpose of supporting state and local activities that prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Blaine County will be using these funds to help our community by sub-granting them to the Senior Connection, and supporting the purchase of a much-needed meal delivery vehicle.
The Senior Connection is the only Meals on Wheels provider in Blaine County, and their staff travel around 100 miles every day to ensure that the seniors in the Wood River Valley receive the meals and care that they need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senior Connection experienced a 400% increase in the number of meals delivered. This increase has put extra stress on their 3 meal delivery vehicles, ultimately causing one of them to break down. The grant of $49,911 will support their purchase of a replacement meal delivery vehicle, which will be outfitted with refrigeration systems and holding ovens, allowing them to continue this valuable service. During a presentation to the Blaine County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Angenie McCleary stressed how important the Meals on Wheels service is during this time to meet the basic needs and important social interactions for seniors. The staff at the Senior Connection are hopeful that with these funds they will be able to purchase this new vehicle this spring, and have it ready to be put to use by July of 2021.