Senior Center Continues to Serve the Mountain
By Robert Boertien
The Hoodland Senior Center continues to serve our mountain community by providing home delivered meals and rides to medical appointments, hosting exercise classes geared toward seniors, processing energy assistance applications, advising on Medicare issues, offering shopping and recreational bus trips, and providing pet food free of charge to our seniors and disabled citizens, as well as providing other services as needed. We recently concluded a very popular and successful small grant program that allowed many of our low-income elderly citizens to realize critical home improvements. This grant application was submitted for us by Brittany Kintigh, a volunteer, and in fact many of our services are made possible through the work of our selfless volunteers. However, our two dedicated part-time paid employees, Executive Director Ella Vogel and assistant Leita Bibler, are who we rely upon to carry out day to day operations and to greet those coming to the center or phoning the center seeking services.
The Hoodland Senior Center never wavered in providing core services during the height of the COVID pandemic, although we were forced to curtail some programs. However, exercise classes and bus trips have resumed, and we plan to again offer congregate lunches at one of our local restaurants beginning in the near future.
As some of you know, we were recently forced to make a change to our home delivered meal program. I cannot overstate the importance of this program, as not only are our elderly or disabled community members provided a nutritious meal, but our volunteer delivery drivers also provide a brief social contact and welfare check with each delivery. However, the financial reality we face has forced us to cancel the Thursday sack lunch and replace it with a frozen dinner which is delivered to the door along with other frozen meals to be utilized during the weekend. This is not ideal but is necessary despite the excellent work our vendors have done in curtailing costs. Although the Hoodland Senior Center could not operate without the support of our generous donors, our meals program is largely dependent upon public money directed to us from the Older Americans Act. While each sack lunch costs $7.00, we are only reimbursed $4.65 per meal, leaving a deficit of $2.35 per meal that we must cover. We are currently delivering lunches to 33 people per day, down slightly from our high of 38, but a number that is likely to rise again. Due to the number of meals delivered, any deficit is problematic, but the cost of the less expensive frozen meals is completely covered by the reimbursement. Although the deficit is even greater when considering the more elaborate meals delivered early in the week, it is my hope that the switch to frozen meals can be limited to Thursdays. I ask anyone with questions or concerns about this change to the meals program to contact the senior center.
Please visit our website, subscribe to our newsletter, or visit the Hoodland Senior Center if you desire to learn more about the programs and services we offer. Thank you for your continuing support.
Robert Boertien is the Chair of the Hoodland Senior Center Board of Directors