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Former councilman returns to part-time position to provide senior citizens with assistance during pandemic

Former Riverhead Town Councilman Jim Wooten will work part-time out of Supervisor Yvette Aguiar’s office to provide senior citizens with assistance in obtaining services and resources in town, according to the supervisor.

Mr. Wooten, who served on the Town Board from 2008 to 2019, began the new job on Wednesday. His title will be that of a part-time office assistant to the Town supervisor.

He will be working 10 hours per week for a total of $10,000 per year, according to the supervisor.

“The goal of this initiative is to provide assistance obtaining services and resources for our most vulnerable residents, allowing them to remain safely at home, thereby reducing the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus,” Ms. Aguiar said. “Meal and grocery delivery, transportation, town services and identification of local COVID-19 testing sites are some of the resources that will be available.”

The move comes “In response to the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Riverhead’s senior population,” Ms. Aguiar said.

The office also will provide assistance with referrals for income-eligible heating and electric bill assistance to Riverhead Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). PSEG and National Grid are among the services provided, all designed to ease feelings of isolation and helplessness, Ms. Aguiar said.

Mr. Wooten will be available at 1-631-727-3200 ext. 653 to provide assistance on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. However, a hotline will be monitored 24/7, according to Ms. Aguiar, who said all messages left on the hotline will be responded to within one business day.

She said in an interview that the funding for the position is already in the budget.