Oak Park Township is the key source of publicly supported social services in Oak Park and River Forest. Services to our residents over age 60 are possible due to the township’s multiple relationships with private business, the public and nonprofit sectors, and many citizen volunteers. All of these entities, especially our senior clients, need the improved accessibility and convenience offered by the Oak Park Avenue building the township plans to purchase [OP Township to buy long-vacant building, News, Feb. 16].

We partner with AARP for training and support of our, ever popular this time of year, tax aid program, and we have many experienced, local professionals serving in our volunteer money management program. We have equipment and financial support from Pace for our mini-bus transportation services for the elderly and persons with disabilities. One-half of our senior-services funding is from public-sector grant sources, mainly federal and state.

Our private-sector partners include two local restaurants, Robinson’s and Cozy Corner, for the dine-out program where seniors can enjoy a reduced-price meal, and other local restaurants are regularly invited to join. Blue Cab and Red Cab participate in the reduced-fare taxi coupon program, and Blue Cab assists with the delivery of meals to homebound seniors.

Another private contractor provides the nutritional meals available for the senior lunch program between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. weekdays. Often we provide educational, recreational and social activities during the meals, and we will be able to expand these in the new location. Other partnerships are involved with the wellness, elder-abuse prevention and caregiver support programs.

Our location has an impact on the quality and efficiency of each of these services. Currently, on an average day, clients, staff, volunteers and vendors make more than 130 roundtrips via a slow, small elevator in and out of the senior services’ fifth- and sixth-floor facilities. The new ground-level, accessible and convenient location will improve these services.

Gavin Morgan
Manager, Oak Park Township

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