Coronavirus Update at the COA...

Some programs are open and some are still on-hold. Click here to see what programs and activities have reopened.

Click here to learn how you can still get nutritious meals during Coronavirus



This is an excerpt from Leader Publications. For the full article, go to

CASSOPOLIS — Wednesday morning, Marty Heirty hiked a mask up over his nose and mouth before opening his car door and walking up to a porch in Vandalia, toting brown bags of frozen meals in his hands.


Donning a green mask herself, 103-year-old Mildred Filley answered the door with a warm greeting.


“How are you doing today, Ms. Filley?” Heirty asked as he handed over the bags. “Are you staying healthy? Staying well?”


The interaction was similar to hundreds of others that Cass County Council on Aging employees experienced this week, as the COA continues to run its Meals on Wheels program, which delivers hot and frozen meals to Cass County seniors, during the COVID-19 pandemic.


We are still out here and still serving the community,” Heirty, chief executive officer at the COA.


Mornings at the COA are a somewhat hectic affair, with coolers being filled and lists being double-checked to ensure each Meals on Wheels recipient gets their meals. Before drivers and navigators can leave the building, they each grab a facial covering as part of newly implemented procedures to protect both themselves and their senior clients from the COVID-19 virus.


Since the pandemic hit, bringing with it business closures and “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive orders, hot-meal requests have increased from an average of 50 meals per day to roughly 70 per day. The COA has also implemented a Five Free Frozen program, where area senior seniors are delivered five frozen meals, which so far has had 300 participants. While initially meant to be a one-time program, the Five Free Frozen program has now received increased funding from local, regional and state donors, which means the COA can offer a second round to Cass County seniors. 


In the wake of the pandemic, Heirty said the Meals on Wheels program is more important than ever, as it helps bring meals to homebound seniors in a time when grocery shopping is difficult and carries the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, Meals on Wheels workers can check in on clients and provide social interaction to seniors who cannot receive any other visitors due to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.


“For a lot of our clients, we are only people they see, and that social aspect is very important,” Heirty said. “We are providing an essential service.”

This is an excerpt from Leader Publications. For the full article, go to



Sarah Culton, Leader Publications