Mindy Caton, planner for the Area Agency on Aging 8, said that the Agency has received notification of funding designated for nutrition programs, but that’s all.
Asked about when agencies, such as the Meigs County Council on Aging, can expect some money from the recovery grant, she said the “Area Agency has no direction at this time as to distribution of the money.”
She added that the Older American Acts Program Division of the Ohio Department of Aging will release more information at the local level once they have had time to learn more about the distribution and reporting requirements.
According to a release from the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio will receive $2,502,601 in funds for the congregate meals program, and $1,232,050 for the home delivered meals program. He said the funds are to be used to provide meals to seniors in group settings and to those who are homebound.
Aging services in Southeastern Ohio have been hit hard by rising food costs at a time when demand for services is increasing due to the economic downturn and the growing number of older adults. The need for more services is being felt by the Meigs County Council on Aging which has an aggressive volunteer fund-raising program to supplement state and federal funding and local levy funds.
The new federal money, it has been reported, is designed for providing meals to seniors in need, to restore nutrition services which may have been cut, and to restore positions which may have been eliminated or reduced due to those cuts.
Good nutrition always plays a role in seniors maintaining their health and independence. Beth Shaver, director of the Meigs County Council on Aging, said that the congregate meals and the home delivered meals to homebound seniors here is a “vital part of keeping seniors in their homes and out of costly nursing facilities.”
Last year the Meigs County Council on Aging delivered 16,585 meals to homebound seniors. At the Center there were 7,218 congregate meals served. Shaver says the total cost for nutrition services in 2008 in Meigs County was $350,453. Revenue for that program included Title III and NSIP of $68,567, with the remaining $281,886 coming from levy proceeds, funds raising by volunteers, contributions, catering programs, and other project income.
Shaver said a new program of delivering lunches in town on Fridays is bringing in another $550 a week which goes directly into the nutrition program. That fund raiser is handled by volunteers with assistance from staff members.
According to the release from Brown, the $3.7 million in funds from the economic recovery legislation has been awarded to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services which will in turn allocate the funds to local providers of the two programs.
“We have an obligation to ensure older Americans do not go hungry,” said Brown. “These funds will provide a lifeline to homebound seniors while ensuring that other older Americans in need have access to nutritious meals.”