Today’s news:

Frozen plan generates heat - New petition for hot meals

Council Member Vincent Gentile is launching a petition drive against the City’s Department for the Aging’s (DFTA) proposal to incorporate the delivery of frozen food to homebound seniors.

Councilman Gentile said, “I have adamantly opposed frozen meals being forced onto a senior. I have received the department commissioner’s reassurances that any resident who would like a hot meal will be able to get one, but we need them to know how serious of a situation this is. Meals are not merely nutritional but they are also part of a vital lifeline, allowing regular interaction for the senior with providers. This type of communication has been known to save lives of seniors who were in need of assistance.”

As part of its plan to streamline services to senior centers, the department is considering delivering “flash frozen” meals as an alternative to daily-delivered, hot meals to homebound seniors.

The administration’s stance is that flash frozen meals would allow for lower costs, more nutritional meals, fewer contracts and more menu choices.

DFTA recently testified before the City Council regarding their modernization plan. They submitted concept papers for meals and the future of senior centers.

Any change in the current process could mean restructuring of senior centers, fewer service providers and longer contracts.

However, many lawmakers and members of the public showed concern about the timing of this initiative in fear it would reduce services to seniors and lock the city into a long term agreement, which hasn’t received a complete and thorough review.

“Seniors who currently use centers for leisure, socialization and daily activities must not suffer any discontinuation in service. I do agree with DFTA’s wellness approach, in that linking senior centers with public health assistance will undoubtedly improve the personal health and quality of life for seniors. Yet I profoundly believe that this wellness approach should not come at the expense of existing services,” said Gentile.

Gentile is encouraging all members of the general public, specifically potentially affected seniors, to either stop by his district office at 8703 Third Avenue, to sign the petition or go online to sign his “Help Save Hot Meal Deliveries to NYC Seniors” e-petition at

Upon completion of each petition, the names will be submitted to Mayor Bloomberg.

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