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Local Senior Service Agency Reopens to Public for First Time Since Start of Pandemic

GALESBURG – It has been 491 days since the original stay at home order was mandated here in Illinois. Though, the doors may have been closed all this time, there was always a group of dedicated individuals working tirelessly to help ensure the seniors of Knox County not get lost amongst the chaotic shuffle. VNA Community Services has continued most of its programming through the dog days of the Pandemic and was able to serve well over 60,000 individual meals to the Knox County area with the help of community partnerships with the likes of Knox County United Way, Noon Lion’s Club, Rotary, Galesburg Community Foundation, YEMM and so many more.

The 26th will also mark the restart of two programs that have been on hiatus since the start of the COVID crisis. Both Congregate Meals and The New Age New Image Fitness Center are coming back and in a big way. Starting at the Galesburg site, hot meals are available to folks 60 or older and it is asked that they reserve their plate at least one day in advance by calling VNA. There is a suggested donation of $5 per meal, but no recipient will be turned away due to lack of funds. The Fitness Center is also open from 8 a.m, - 4 p.m. Mon - Fri and is starting out with 2 months completely free. Be sure to ask the admin about the special offer.

The reopening marks the continuance of over 100 years serving seniors in the area, and the folks at VNA are looking forward to welcoming back the seniors of the community. With that welcome comes an introduction of new staff to assist the folks within Knox County. Under the leadership of new Executive Director, Michael John Bennett, the agency hopes to get their mission out to the masses.

When asked about his new position and what he intends to do to help the seniors of Knox County, the former VNA Program Director had this to say, “I am really excited to have the opportunity to continue serving our seniors. We have had a tough go of it, as I am sure every non-profit has within the last 16 or so months. It was imperative for us to keep essential services going from the very start, because our demographic of folks is statistically the most devasted by the Pandemic. But also, because our folks often get passed over while talking of food insecurity and the like.

We plan to stay the course. We are opening our doors again to return to some semblance of normalcy, and just help folks in the present moment. The future is always there, but the present moment is the only one we live in. And the present plan is to serve every Knox County senior possible. If we can make some friends within the non-profit realm along the way, it sounds like a win-win to me.”

Like to get involved or donate? Call the VNA at (309) 342-1152

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