As of Oct. 14, all of the Senior CommUnity meal sites in Delta County will be going to a three-day per week schedule due to funding cuts.
"Federal funding was cut deeply this year, and Volunteers of America cannot continue to operate the program at a significant financial deficit," said Deana Sheriff, program director of Senior CommUnity Meals.
"In FY13, VOA lost over $400,000 on the program, but we felt it was important to keep feeding the seniors in our community — because 'that's why we do what we do.' However, in order to keep the program operational, we have to make changes to our dates of service, and the method that we deliver to our homebound participants."
Meal delivery will be cut from 115,000 meals per year to 75,000 meals per year, including homebound.
A shortage of volunteers is also having a profound impact on the program, Sheriff said.
"The significant lack of volunteers has created an additional crisis in being able to deliver a hot meal daily (many of our long-term volunteers are now receiving our services). We are having to go with a frozen food delivery system that will continue to provide the equivalent of three meals per week, but depending upon the location, seniors will receive deliveries either once every two weeks or once a month," Sheriff said. "These meals are healthy, nutritious and tasty, and will be delivered by a background-checked driver who will place the frozen meals directly into the participant's freezer."
VOA is working with the Area Agency on Aging to specifically identify those participants who may need further assistance in preparing their meal, she said. In addition, VOA will be instituting a daily phone check system to ensure homebound seniors have some sort of daily contact.
"Details are being worked out right now, and in the meantime, we are asking our community to help by checking on their elderly neighbors. We are asking for assistance from churches, social groups and business groups to help ensure that the homebound know that they are not forgotten."
VOA is committed to making sure there is at least one congregate meal site open Monday-Friday. The meal site schedule in Delta County and Olathe will be as follows:
Cedaredge — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Delta — Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Hotchkiss — Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Olathe — Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Paonia — Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
"VOA has been discussing these changes with all the seniors at all the senior sites, so we have been trying to answer questions as they come up," Sheriff said. "Homebound participants will be receiving a letter in the mail explaining the changes in more detail."blog comments powered by Disqus