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Sam Atchley helps deliver curbside meals for seniors at the Nampa Senior Center, a service provided during the pandemic.

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When the pandemic shut down the Nampa Senior Center on March 13, 2020, Coordinator Sam Atchley went into crisis mode. How could the center get meals to the seniors who depended on it? “We’d been averaging about 150 a day for inside dining. We had an emergency meeting the next day to figure out what to do,” Atchley said.

And what came out of that meeting was a solution, of sorts, a way to feed the seniors who relied and depended on the center. “We started curbside dining,” Atchley said. “There were only 40 to 45 the first week. We’re doing about 112 meals now.”

Atchley said word of mouth along with phone calls to those who came to the center often and online postings and flyers helped get the word out. They kept their dietitian-approved menu will all the seniors’ favorite meals, except for changing a few items.

“We added a yogurt fruit cup and changed up the salads a bit,” said Atchley. “And we can’t do deviled eggs curbside — too messy.”

They also made sure to make those holiday meals special, too. “We just had Mother’s Day and had close to 200 for that.” Along with a turkey with all the fixin’s dinner, all the moms coming through were honored with a flower.

Atchley said, as challenging as the past year has been, “I’m happy, glad and honored” to have been able to provide the meals. She knows for many it was a touchstone to the past and represented a beacon to the future. “The appreciation goes both ways.”

Jeanne Huff is the community engagement editor for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at 208-465-8106 and follow her on Twitter @goodnewsgirl.

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