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Stimulus Dollars Provide Little Help For Area Senior Nutrition Centers

Stimulus Dollars Provide Little Help For Area Senior Nutrition

Missouri will receive $1.92 million in federal stimulus funds for senior nutrition programs, which will provide more than 300,000 meals at senior centers and meals delivered to seniors’ homes, state officials said Wednesday.

Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, announced the funding during an appearance at the Monroe City Senior Nutrition Center in Monroe County.
This funding is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is commonly known as the federal stimulus package. The new funding was signed into law last week by Gov. Jay Nixon.

This funding will pay for more than 300,000 meals statewide, including more than 16,000 meals to seniors in northeast Missouri. Nearly 3,300 of those meals will be served in just the next two months.
The stimulus package provided $100 million for senior nutrition programs nationwide. Missouri’s share of this funding will total $1.92 million.

The program helps keep seniors active the healthy. Home-delivered meals help enable older individuals to live independently. Group meals add to the quality of life of many seniors by providing social interaction and better nutrition.   

“This funding is among the first stimulus package programs actually to reach the people by providing real services and help to those who need it,” Donnelly said. “And the program certainly is among the most important.”

In reality, the stimulus dollars barely compensates for lost funding, according to the Northeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging, located in Kirksville.  Asked about the stimulus dollars, they replied, “The stimulus funding is one time money and it will actually be replacing the $1.4 million cut in state funding for the nutrition programs in Missouri. So there is no increase in nutrition funding for fiscal year 2010, which starts in July 2009. Northeast share of the stimulus funding for 2010 is $79,701 which does not fully replace the funds which we lost which is $82,943.

In subsequent years we will not have funding to replace the state cuts, so therefore we have permanently lost the $82,943.

We did get a small amount of stimulus funding for Fiscal year 2009. The amount for Northeast was $19,925. Clark County share of those funds were $917 and Knox was $752.

The nutrition programs will not get an increase in funding for Fiscal year 2010 due to the cuts in state funding.”