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Scores of island elderly left waiting for food delivery

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Officials islandwide scrambled to serve lunch to close to 2,000 of the island's man'amko today. An estimated 100 senior citizens receiving homebound delivery services were left hungry because an Anigua kitchen responsible for catering their meals was shut down on Thursday afternoon.

It was a logistics nightmare. James Gillan, director of the Department of Public Health said, "The emergency vendor was only able to, within the time the vendor had, to secure seventeen drivers. You need more than seventeen drivers." With less than 24-hours notice, it was a tall order - to prepare 1,900 meals and deliver them to island elderly islandwide - all before 2pm today. "It didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped," Gillan added. "The contractor basically wasn't advised that they were going to get the award until probably five o'clock last night."

He confirms that an emergency procurement effectuated on Thursday contracted SH Enterprises, (doing business as California Mart) as an emergency vendor to cater to the island's man'amko. This as a result of the sudden closure of Li Quan Corporation's Anigua kitchen on Thursday afternoon. Public Health was forced to pull the food vendor's sanitary permit because they failed to obtain a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Plan, which is required by the new Guam Food Code for those serving meals to susceptible populations like senior citizens. With no sanitary permit, their Anigua kitchen was closed and their contract terminated.

So what was on the menu today? According to Mayors Council of Guam executive director Angel Sablan, SH Enterprises served up ham and cheese sandwiches with a side of fruit cocktail. Gillan confirms because of delivery issues, roughly 100 individuals receiving home delivered meals went without lunch today. We should note, home delivered meals is a seven-day operation catering to 1,100 of the island's elderly.

"Hopefully," Gillan speculated, "that's not the group that depends on that one meal. That's what worries me."

Meanwhile, Sablan confirms all seniors at the centers were fed even if their meals weren't delivered - that's because village mayors and senior citizen center officials hustled to put food on the table using program income money. "It's not an excuse, but I think they did a great job just getting together what they did. I think Catholic Social Services was very helpful. The mayors obviously by stepping up when they knew the meals weren't going to be delivered on time. What that shows is how much we all care about our older folks," he proclaimed.

"And that's a good thing."   

While many went without lunch today, inmates and detainees at the Department of Corrections were served up two dinners last night because of miscommunication as to what effects Li Quan's closure would have on the prison. An emergency procurement was effectuated contracting GFS Group to provide up to 750 meals for prisoners Thursday night.

Later, however, it was discovered that the closure had no affect on DOC as Li Quan prepares those meals in the prison galley. The end result was a two-course meal - one prepared by Li Quan and another by GFS Group.

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