Nutrition Inc., the food service company that delivers meals to D.C.’s home-bound seniors, shut down last week, leaving District officials scrambling to fill the void.
The company, which may have to file for bankruptcy, notified the D.C. Office on Aging of its impending closure a few days before the service stopped. The District is now relying on temporary vendors to fill in and has started looking for a new, permanent one. Initially, about 300 seniors who were the most vulnerable were given priority immediately after Nutrition, Inc.’s closure. The Washington Post reports that there was some disruption in services.
Now John Thompson, the Office of Aging’s acting executive director, tells DCentric that as of this week, everyone should be receiving their meals as normal. Service centers and new vendors have been running spot checks to ensure everyone who should be receiving a meal is getting one.
The District’s senior food service program provides meals at 43 sites, such as senior centers and churches, and to 1,370 home-bound seniors during the week and 525 during the weekend. In order to qualify for home-bound delivery, a social worker must conduct an assessment to identify whether or not a senior can perform basic activities, such as cooking.
WAMU reports that the office has been looking for a new vendor to fill the void left by Nutrition, Inc. Thompson says that many companies can cook the meals, but transporting the meals can become costly, making it difficult for such businesses to survive.
“It’s easy to find food vendors. The hard part is trying to locate vendors who have the necessary assets to deliver food to someone’s home,” Thompson says. “This is just a unique service.”
Thompson says he can’t name the current, temporary vendors that are filling the void since their contracts haven’t been executed yet by the D.C. Office of Contracts and Procurement, but once they have been finalized, that information will become public. The office will put out a new request for proposals for a permanent vendor to serve meals starting next fiscal year, which begins in October. In the meantime, anyone experiencing a disruption in service can call 202-724-5626.