By Madeleine Graham
Genesee County Community Action Resource Department (GCCARD) director Matthew Purcell resigned suddenly effective Aug. 5, 2020. Purcell has been GCCARD director since November 2015. Stephanie Howard will act as the interim director of GCCARD. Howard has served as deputy director of GCCARD prior to Purcell’s resignation.
“We expect that she will continue to steer our ship in a positive direction so as to meet the many needs of our very diverse community. I do no expect any major changes until the Board decides on a permanent director,” commented Joshua Freeman, Director of Administration for the Genesee Board of Commissioners.
According to the Genesee Board of Commissioners website, Freeman develops and oversees internal and external Board communications and recommends long-range plans for the County to address a wide variety of municipal needs, and focuses towards improving the County’s financial stability.
Freeman declined to comment on the resignation, stating, “Genesee County does not comment on personnel issues.”
GCCARD cash flow increases with COVID Crisis
“The Covid-19 situation has resulted in a positive flow of cash for GCCARD. The Covid situation has actually resulted in significant cash inflow from our state and federal partners as a means to react to the ongoing pandemic,” Freeman explained.
“GCCARD has had a long-standing relationship with VAAA (Valley Area Agency on Aging) which assists in the referral and determination process for those wishing to receive meals,” he said.
GCCARD received approximately $1.9 million to provide meals this year. Approximately $1.4 million in senior millage dollars is used to provide meals to seniors. United Way is acting as a pass-through for approximately $80,000 in FEMA grant funding, Freeman added.
For 47 years GCCARD’s Meals on Wheels program has provided meals to seniors throughout the county. According to the Genesee County website, Meals on Wheels provides prepared meals once a day Monday through Friday. But due to the pandemic, rather than gathering and eating at areas such as senior centers, Meals on Wheels has transitioned to a “grab-and-go” style.
Freeman added, “All of the GCCARD services have continued during this COVID crisis. It is a testament to our great staff that we have been able to continue to serve very vulnerable residents in Genesee County. The Congregate meal program continues. Currently, there are no stipends for volunteers.”
Government regulated precautions are taken in all Genesee County Departments
As for the precautions being taken while operating under Covid-19, Freeman added, “All Genesee County departments continue to follow the direction of our Genesee County Health Department as well as state and federal partners,” offered Freeman.
Office of Emergency Management “no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of GCCARD”
Freeman stated the Office of Emergency Management is “no longer involved in the day-to-day operations at GCCARD. They did, in the early stages of the pandemic, coordinate help in staffing our programs. But that has stopped now that the situation has leveled out,” he explained.
Hours of operation for GCCARD are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday–the same hours as Meals on Wheels. To qualify for meals, a “referral system/assessment as determined by VAAA and Alzheimers’s Association,” is used. If one is seeking a referral contact: The Valley Area Agency on Aging at (810)239-7671 or the Alzheimer’s Association at (810)780-4163. To volunteer to deliver meals (810)232-2185. Note this number does not make referrals. The above numbers must be contacted.
EVM reporter Madeleine Graham can be reached at email@example.com.