Senator Micheal Bergstrom joined DOCServices to help deliver meals to some of his senior constituents.

MIAMI— Senator Micheal Bergstrom (R-Dist. 1) spent part of his time in Miami on Feb. 17 working with DOCServices Inc. (DOCS) to help deliver meals to some of his senior constituents.

For over 35 years, DOCS has been providing services to senior citizens in Northeast Oklahoma through an ongoing arrangement with Grand Gateway Area Agency on Aging.

The nonprofit operates both the Miami and Grove Senior Center Kitchens providing over 500 meals daily to homebound clients. These include communal setting clients in the 9-Tribes Tower dining room in Miami, Community room of the Commerce Public Housing Authority in Commerce, the Grove Senior Center, Afton Senior Center, Bluejacket Senior Center and Burroughs Manor located in Vinita.

DOCS also supplies its Meals on Wheels service to residents of Delaware, Ottawa and Craig Counties along with its ADvantage Frozen Meal Program.

Bergstrom visited and helped deliver meals to three service clients. DOCS Executive Director B.J. Mooney said the program tries reaching out to senators and state representatives annually and had contacted Bergstrom. Last year, State Representative Ben Loring helped deliver meals to homebound clients, as well.

“I try to meet with people throughout my district, so when DOCS called with this opportunity, I thought it would be a chance to meet some folks I hadn’t met before,” said Bergstrom. “As it turned out, I had actually met one of the people we visited when I was knocking on doors during my campaign. I thought that was a nice surprise.”

Mooney said the clients were appreciative that a senator would take the time to speak with them about their concerns and deliver a meal.

“When Senators and Representatives take time out of their busy schedules to deliver meals or visit with them, they know their voices are being heard and their vote counted,” Mooney said.

According to Bergstrom, the citizens he met were pleased that a senator would be interested in them and the DOCS program.

“As our population ages, there will be a greater need for services like this,” Bergstrom said. “Which is why, even in a difficult situation like the one the state finds itself in with another revenue failure, we need to find ways to continue funding programs like this. It’s a good idea for those who pass the legislation and control the state’s purse strings to make sure they are familiar with the programs they might be hurting with funding cuts.”

Like other state programs, DOCS has been deeply affected by budget cuts.

“We feel it is very important to be advocates for our senior population, even at the state level,” Mooney said. “When Senators and Representatives get involved and deliver meals door to door, it helps them to see not only the struggles the seniors face on a daily basis but what our program also faces due to our sixth year of budget cuts and an ever growing need to serve our seniors.”

In 2016, Bergstrom was elected as the state senator from District 1, which encompasses the northeast corner of the state. The district includes Ottawa County, Craig County, Delaware County and Mayes County.

Prior to being elected, Bergstrom spent a decade in journalism, serving as a reporter, editor and freelance writer in Florida and northeast Oklahoma. He then became a full-time educator with nearly 20 years’ experience in public education, the last 17 working as an English teacher and yearbook advisor at Bluejacket High School.