Almost One Year Later and Still Forgotten
Submitted by Anonymous
Dear Granite City Gossip,
Waiting nearly an entire year, and now being another year older I find myself right back to where I started sharing my thoughts to Granite City Gossip and their viewers with the hope of putting the seniors of Nameoki Township into the spotlight.
It’s frustrating to find myself , once again having to attempt to bring about badly needed changes within our township. I don’t know how it came about that I became the spokesperson to represent a group of seniors and disabled residents, or how others feel they can’t speak loud enough to be heard, but this is the position I am now finding myself in. I didn’t ask for it, or have any desire to lead this charge to bring about change, but someone has to do it.
If you read the letter below I submitted nearly one year ago below, you will learn how many Nameoki senior and disabled residents feel. At times, forgotten, lonely, alienated, and even sometimes depressed and hopeless. As seniors age their social circle becomes smaller and smaller and their ability to venture outside of their homes becomes more difficult and for some nearly impossible. This is the very reason township programs for these people are so important.
Since my last letter one year ago, Nameoki township did arrange 2 hours once a month where seniors can meet for donuts, coffee, cards and games from 9am to 11am (2 hours) once a month at the township hall. They also arranged for Nameoki seniors and disabled to join the Granite City township seniors for their Senior Cinema Day at the Granite City Cinema. While both of these new services for seniors are very much appreciated, they are only baby steps that pale in comparison to other township services, and were extremely over due.
As I mentioned in my original letter the Collinsville township building and it’s programs serving it’s seniors host an entire calender of events, just like Granite City township does. They have even since aquired a passenger bus to shuttle their residents to different outings. Granite City township has a full calendar of events where they host dances, daily lunches at a discounted affordable price, exercise classes, field trips with transportation provided. There is something on their senior calendar every day of the month except Saturdays and Sundays.
Shortly after my orginal letter was made public on the Granite City Gossip website it began being shared on several social media platforms and pages. The article got the attention of many and it wasn’t long before these 2 new services were introduced to the Nameoki residents with promises of several new services being just around the corner. My original question was never addressed when asking if Nameoki township any longer has a Senior Center building. If it does not, why not?
How can any reasonable amount of programs be introduced and provided to our seniors without a building? The actual Nameoki township building that houses the township’s Clerk office, and the Assessors office and where the Highway department sits is not a Senior Center.
The ole saying of “It takes a village” could not be more appropriate when it comes providing these types of programs. Employees along with a list of volunteers could make this possible and I am not suggesting that the handful of Nameoki township employees should shoulder these tasks or responsibilities. These employees work 4 days a week, 7 hour days and Fridays from 8:00 to noon and there are not enough hours in a Nameoki township day to provide a calendar of events and a Meals on Wheels program among other services.
I have read on the Nameoki township’s website about the services they provide and the only services listed are (Notary Public and Voter Registrations). I have also read about “General Assistance” (to those who qualify) but when you read the guidelines of who may be eligible for the “Assistance” it excludes anyone who receives Social Security benefits, or Disability Benefits, so that means that seniors and people with disabilities are not eligible as well as anyone who is currently employed. That seems to leave a very small group of people who may meet the criteria to be considered eligible. Considering the lack of services and assistance to residents from the township, you would think the funding would be available to provide some of the basic programs for seniors and the disabled.
It feels as if Nameoki township is doing the bare minimum that requires the least amount of effort for it’s residents, even piggy backing off Granite City township in order to provide one of the only two services it does now offer.
Nameoki township has over 12,000 residents and doesn’t offer even the basic Meals on Wheels Program for it’s disabled and seniors. Surely they can do better, the seniors and disabled deserve more than a couple pots of coffee and a donut once a month. I’ll close this letter with the same statement I closed the last letter with…”. Invest in us, we’re worth it I promise, just ask our grandchildren.”
The Forgotten Seniors of Nameoki Township
Submitted by Anonymous
Dear Granite City Gossip,
After following and reading your web site for years, and reading the articles and seeing many pictures posted about the Township in Granite City, I have a few questions and comments. But first, I would like to give credit where credit is due. I can’t pretend that I know exactly who is in charge of the programs that the Granite City township provides to it’s seniors and disabled citizens, but I do want to recognize their efforts and thoughtfulness.
After recently speaking to a few of my friends about their social calendars, they would be both lost and lonely without the services that the township provides. I hear their stories of gathering with their friends that they would otherwise never be able to do without the assistance of the township. They look forward to Bingo days, and Cinema days and most recently a Fall Festival that did not cost them a dime to attend where food and beverages were provided for all that attended. They also offer scheduled outings to Walmart and grocery stores for the seniors that need that service.
When invited, by these friends for me to attend these events with them, they find it hard to understand why I have to decline, although I completely understand why. I live outside of Granite City in Pontoon Beach. So, there is no question or confusion for me why I can not attend these events with my friends, I fully understand that these services are for Granite City residents only.
This brings me to the question portion of my letter. Why doesn’t Nameoki Township have a building for our seniors and disabled to gather, or do they and I’m just not aware of it? Why doesn’t Nameoki Township provide any of the services that Granite City does? Do we have our own Meals on Wheels program, to help seniors and the disabled? I understand that we don’t have our own theater, but why can’t our township arrange for us to have a Cinema day at the Granite City Cinema? Does our township have a van to use as a source of transportation like the Granite City township does? Why can’t we have our own Bingo day? Why can’t we have coffee & Doughnut mornings to share some conversation?
Are younger and middle age people so disconnected and out of touch, that they just don’t realize the importance of these things to a senior citizen or shut in? There comes a time when you reach a certain age, such as myself, that I avoid highway driving as much as possible, but I sure would love to stay local and drive to my local senior center to share a lunch or dinner and conversation every now and then. The older you get, the smaller your social circle becomes as far as friends are considered. There are times that seniors get lonely, they miss the things that most people take for granted, things as simple as hearing their own names being spoken. Actually laughing out loud while making eye contact with someone, instead of over the phone.
Collinsville recently opened a beautiful Senior Center that offers so many activities, it fills the calendar for so many seniors and gives them something to look forward to. This service is something people need to keep in mind when looking into the future and considering their retirement years. Looking back, I sure wish I would have.
We are old yes, but we are not dead yet. We still have living to do, laughing to do, sharing to do, creating to do, dancing to do, and loving to do. Invest in us, we’re worth it I promise, just ask our grandchildren.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way – Submitted by John Doe
The 2021 – 2022 school year has began facing many challenges, but these challenges should not have caught this district off guard. Last year was the year of surprises and challenges due to the Covid Virus, so you would think it would have been a valuable lesson in generating e-learning, and also in attending in-school learning in this new environment of social distancing, masking and CDC guidelines.
During our student’s and staff’s summer vacation break, would have been the time to buckle down and get plans in place to better prepare for these new issues all schools are now facing. It appears as if other districts did indeed take advantage of that time to plan for their school’s re-opening with students back inside the classrooms. Breakfasts and lunches being served in other districts under the new challenges has not prevented these schools from providing hot meals for their students for both breakfast and lunch periods.
We have local private schools that have also figured out how to serve these same hot meals. We are all hearing the same excuses for our district’s failure to provide fresh, nutritious, hot meals for our students. One being COVID19 regulations, which I can find no valid information to back up this theory. Another excuse is a certain food distributor going out of business, that has delayed supplies making their way to our school cafeterias. Clearly, other nearby districts have managed to order and receive deliveries from commercial food suppliers and their cafeteria workers are actually cooking!
My first thought is, there is far more than one food distributor for our district to work with. Secondly, our town has how many grocery stores? We also have Sam’s Club just a short drive from our area, and a Costco right across the river. In a pinch, instead of serving some off- brand cold “Lunchable” food kit look-alike to our students daily, why doesn’t the district order bulk luncheon meat like ham and turkey breast and have the cooks actually prepare fresh sub sandwiches daily? Produce could be purchased locally to make side salads, and bags of chips could be purchased as well. How about our cooks actually cooking large pots of soup with a toasted cheese sandwich? Fresh hot soup or a home made sub sandwich and a side salad and chips is far more palatable than these disgusting, mass produced, often times FROZEN meal kits.
Why are the horrible school lunches currently being served to our students uniquely a Granite City problem? Who is responsible at the district level for our school cafeterias? Lunches are provided free of charge to our district’s students, AS ARE THE EDWARDSVILLE DISTRICT STUDENTS! Why are our children less deserving of receiving the type of hot breakfasts and hot lunches that Edwardsville students, Alton Students, and students from other local districts receive? How much money is allocated to our district for these meals? How much per student? Are we utilizing these funds strictly to feed our students or has our district made this into a money making venture by not spending the allocated funds properly? I, for one, would like some answers.