Holding out hope for June 1
To the Editor:
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced recently that his stay-at-home order would expire May 18, meaning he will allow more, but not all, businesses to re-open.
It’s a step in the right direction, but yet another example of the governor picking winners and losers. For months now, our businesses have been developing plans so they can safely re-open while protecting employees and customers, and many of them are still waiting for the governor to decide when they can continue making a living.
It’s clear the governor made some movement due to the voices of Minnesotans who have shared their thoughts with him and with their legislators. He notes more work remains, as restaurants, bars, churches, hair salons and others only have a suggestion that June 1 might be their targeted opening date.
The problem remains that with Gov. Walz’s recent decisions, he will continue to be sole decision-maker in this state, leaving the Legislature without a voice in the process.
Moving forward, we have to protect the vulnerable and keep people safe while giving our residents their freedoms back. Let’s hope by June 1 we have good news to report for those who remain unable to return to work due to the governor’s actions.
State Rep. Bob Gunther
Delivery of meals available
To the Editor:
As we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic, we realize that this is not going to be a short sprint but rather a marathon. Like any skilled marathoner will tell you, it is not about speed or a fast start, but rather pacing.
At the onset of the stay-at-home order in Minnesota, we found that many older adults were doing well, as they had prepared for this eventuality of sheltering in place like other states. The story has changed after entering the second month of the stay-at-home order. Personal stockpiles are now running low, freezer space is becoming abundant and folks are beginning to make return calls to home-delivered meal providers.
I want to assure everyone that the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging has prepared for this to occur, and we have been working with home-delivered meal providers in southwest Minnesota. In our frequent meetings, we discuss how current meal production and delivery are going and look to the future to find areas of improvement. (A previously identified need was fulfilled by the wonderful transit providers in our area who stepped up to assist with meal deliveries.)
The home-delivered meal providers who the agency works with under the Older Americans Act, Prairie 5 and Lutheran Social Services, have been reporting an average increase of 35% in meals over the past month, and they are ready to provide more.
In 2019, roughly 390,000 meals were provided to older adults throughout southwest Minnesota. The first-quarter numbers for 2020 show a slight increase, and preliminary numbers for April indicate further growth that we expect to continue into May and June. As mentioned earlier, this growth is something we have been preparing for and are ready to assist with as needed. The Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging will be here to serve our family, friends and neighbors to the finish line and beyond.
If you or someone you know may benefit from home-delivered meals, please contact the Senior LinkAge Line at (800) 333-2433 to find a home-delivered meal provider in your area.
Jason W. Swanson,
executive director, MNRAAA