Work-around solves dining problem for Vernon seniors

Vernon. As the senior center awaits for approval from the state health department, volunteers and donations fill the gap to create a “safe area” outdoors.

| 25 Sep 2020 | 01:33

The Vernon Township Senior Center hasn’t yet received approval from the New Jersey Department of Health to serve the township’s senior citizens. But center director Jane Damstra and recreation director Mishelle Downtain have come up with a work-around.

Vernon Township Mayor Howard Burrell said Downtain and Damstra have assembled a program that allows seniors to pick up takeout meals at the senior center and set up an area where they can eat those meals outside.

They can eat under canopy tents in a what Burrell called a “safe area” in front of the center.

Dawn Montanaro of the McAfee Garden Center donated plants for planters stained by volunteers from Vernon Cares. Montanaro also did the planting.

Pappas Garden donated plants for all the other ground containers.

The Vernon Rotary Club purchased a storage shed, locks, solar lights, and two table and chair sets. Club members helped build many of the items and cleaned up the facility so that seniors could use it.

Burrell also said Department of Public Works staff members Joe Pariso, Nick Pugliese, Mark Izzo, and Jane Tutolo also contributed to the project.

Burrell said this has been “done to enhance the quality of life for those senior citizens that we are so fortunate to have as part of our community family.”