Letter to the Editor

Senior center will need help

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dear editor:

The news that Central District Health would no longer be involved in the Senior Nutrition Program has been devastating to the senior community.

The program consists of both meals served at the Center and Meals on Wheels. The people who come to the center to eat their noon meal, three days per week, benefit by receiving a nutritious meal plus an opportunity to have interaction with their peers.

The Mountain Home Senior Center explored various alternatives, but they had no choice other than keeping it in house so that seniors can continue to receive both noon meals and home-delivered meals via the Meals on Wheels program.

State and federal funding will be nominal in comparison with what the actual cost will be. The seniors are not charged for meals -- it is a suggested donation.

There will be a shortfall on funding, making this a challenge for the Senior Center. Currently the Mountain Home Seniors already do two fundraisers monthly just to fund normal operations. They will need community support if this program is going to be able to continue.

I have delivered Meals on Wheels for over 2.5 years. I have been involved in many volunteer projects, but there is nothing that I have been so passionate about. I heard about this wonderful program from a great lady, Barbara Cristobal. She urged me to become involved after I retired and it is the best thing I could have done.

I would like to offer some comments regarding the Meals on Wheels part of the program. As a driver, volunteering at least once a week, I can attest there is a dire need for this to continue! From my perspective, the recipients of the meals I deliver are so glad to see me and really appreciate the meals. The meals we deliver to them are healthy and approved by a registered dietician. We also deliver frozen meals for the days we do not deliver, if they want them (and most of them do).

As volunteers, we not only deliver meals to these vulnerable seniors, but we are there to check on them to be certain they are OK. Some of the recipients do not have family living in this area and do not see many visitors. We, as drivers, know our recipients, and can spot any problems that may be occurring.

The Nutrition Program also helps the goal of allowing seniors to stay in their homes for as long as possible, which is good for them, as well as the financial aspect to the State and Counties. This program is a WIN, WIN program!

In closing, I am dedicated to helping seniors on my route and am so rewarded by giving back to the community that has been so good to me.

Gail Best