May 22, 2009 in City

Federal cash will cover meal service for Spokane Co. seniors

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Photos by DAN PELLE photo

Joseph Harrison, left, Emmanuel Kennedy, center, and Sally Montano Edgren finish their lunch Thursday at the Mid-City Concerns Senior Center in downtown Spokane. The Spokane Regional Health District will receive at least $66,000 to provide meals for elderly people.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

A program that provides meals to elderly people throughout Spokane County will be restored to full service with federal stimulus funding, the Spokane Regional Health District announced.

“That doesn’t mean all our problems are taken care of,” program manager Lynn Quimby said. “There is a continuing need.”

But the unexpected cash infusion, and the services it will enable, is lifting spirits. The district has been assured it will receive $66,000, and is hoping it will be approved for as much as $80,000, in stimulus spending.

The Senior Nutrition Program was cut back in October as a result of a $30,000 shortfall in federal funding. The program is the umbrella organization that contracts with 11 community centers to provide meals to seniors. It also provides home-delivered meals known as Meals on Wheels. The meals are available for a suggested donation of $3.50, which helps cover the cost of labor.

Because of the shortfall, some centers cut back on the number of days meals were served, Quimby said.

Other centers were able to maintain service because of a $30,000 grant from Providence Holy Family Hospital’s Benefit Fund. The grant was administered by the Mid-City Concerns Senior Center.

Mid-City provides about 260 Meals on Wheels, as well as breakfast and lunch five days a week and dinner Thursdays to about 80 seniors, a quarter of whom are homeless, director Mollie Dalpae said.

Funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will now cover food and labor five days a week plus expanded meals, Quimby said.

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