The Westby senior dining center is moving to a new location effective Jan. 2, 2018. After serving senior meals in the Westby Area Middle School commons for the past year the senior-based program is being relocated to the Westby United Methodist Church on East State Street.

The Westby senior dining program has been in operation for more than 40 years and has bounced in and out of several locations. For years it was based out of the Westby Community Center before being relocated to Borgen’s Café. Then in 2016, the senior program was moved to school on a trial basis, before being relocated to the Westby United Methodist Church beginning next year.

Parking was an initial concern when the program was moved to the school district building last January, along with concerns about the ease of accessibility for elderly patrons entering and exiting the building. Those concerns blossomed during the construction of the new performing arts center in the same area after a portion of the street was closed limiting the number of handicap and close proximity parking spaces near the Westby Fieldhouse entry doors.

On average 45 people participate daily in the Westby program, which includes on site dining and home delivery through the Vernon County Aging and Disability Resource Center’s Senior Nutrition Program.

Patrons will continue to receive a nutritious meal with all the fixings, but will enjoy the cuisine in a new setting and from a new vendor, namely Norseland Nursing Home.

Current Westby Dining Center Manager, Lynette Johnson will continue in her managerial role when the program relocates to the church and she will work closely with Norseland Nursing Home to assure that meals are served timely and meet the program standards.

Each meal provides at least one-third of the daily amounts of nutrients needed to promote good health. Participants are provided with an opportunity to donate toward the cost of the meal, but no one (aged 60 or older) will be denied a meal regardless of their ability to donate. The suggested donation to participate is $3.50 for dining centers and $3.75 for home delivered meals. The actual cost to prepare and provide the meals is $9.90 making it a real bargain for program participants at the reduced rate.

The church doors will be open at 11 a.m., with meals served at 11:30 a.m. Meals will be served Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Reservations for dining can be made at 637-5201.

The Older Americans Act, federal law authorizing funding for the senior dining program began in Wisconsin in 1972. The overall program is funded through a variety of federal and state sources, county levy and the donations each diner provides when they participate in the program. Meals are served to individuals age 60 and older on a donation basis.

Vernon County began its first dining center program in 1978 and the “meals on wheels” home delivery program in 1980. The county nutrition program has an approximately $500,000 annual budget. Daily an average of 115 people eat in-house at the senior dining centers and an additional 130 receive home delivered meals across the county.

Approximately 60 volunteers are active assisting at Vernon County senior dining centers in Westby, Viroqua, Readstown, Ontario, La Farge, Hillsboro, De Soto, Coon Valley and Viola.

The Vernon County Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) focuses on helping people age 60 and older. Beyond nutrition the ADRC offers a variety of other senior-related services including: transportation, caregiver, health promotion, benefits counseling and more. For more information call 608 637-5201.