For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director
Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County’s Office for the Aging’s (OFA) 2020 “Drive-Through Senior Picnic Series” has been an enormous success to date and is expected to serve more than 4,000 local seniors this summer. The drive-through picnics replace the OFA’s decades-old series of in-person summer picnics this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related social-distancing protocols; OFA served 3,807 seniors at its 12 traditional picnics in 2019.
The OFA is currently as the midpoint of its schedule of 12 drive-through picnics, with a total of 2,043 residents registered for the first six picnics. More than 2,050 seniors have registered for the next five picnics – each of those has reached capacity – and only the final OFA picnic of the season, Sept. 3rd in Wingdale, has limited openings still available.
County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “While these unprecedented times have kept many of us apart for too long, I’m thrilled so many of our seniors have been able to enjoy some safely distanced socialization with Office for the Aging staff while driving through to pick up their free picnic lunch. We’re so happy to being a little ‘normalcy’ into our seniors’ lives after the past few months of upheaval. We look forward to serving our seniors during the remainder of the summer picnic series and beyond with many of the programs and services they’ve come to love, enhancing their quality of life even during these difficult times.”
Earlier this summer, OFA staff sent out thousands of invitations to residents 60 years of age and older, encouraging them to attend the free event in their local community. At each of the 12 drive-through picnics, seniors drive up and confirm their registration, receive a locally prepared lunch – a sandwich prepared by a local deli or restaurant, fruit and container of milk – as well as a reusable OFA shopping bag, complete with hand sanitizer and other safety items and information.
To date, OFA has distributed some 600 pounds of local fresh fruit from Hudson Valley Harvest and local milk from Hudson Valley Fresh at its first six drive-through picnics, which are rain-or-shine events.
Volunteer members of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Dutchess County also provide tick removal kits, lip balm and information about safety and preparedness to seniors, as well as assist representatives from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and the Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board in collecting seniors’ unwanted or unneeded medications for safe disposal.
OFA Director Todd Tancredi said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly frightening for seniors, who are among the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. Our drive-through picnics offer a safe opportunity to get out of the house for some quick socialization because seniors know OFA puts the highest priority on safety.”
The Dutchess County Office for the Aging served more than 13,000 residents through a wide array of services and programs in 2019, including its Home-Delivered Meals (HDM) program. Throughout the pandemic, the OFA has seen more than a 350-percent increase in HDM clients, having provided a record number of nutritional meals to homebound seniors. More information about the OFA and its multitude of services is available on Dutchess County’s website.