Letter to the Editor

Senior Center responds to Area 7 report

Friday, February 1, 2013

To the Editor:

In response to the article "Area 7 Nutrition Site to close temporarily in Putnam County" in the Jan. 30 issue of the Banner Graphic, here are some facts which were not mentioned by the writer (of the press release):

The Senior Center has provided the following assistance to Area 7 for many years:

-- Rental of the kitchen for four hours or more each day, Monday through Friday.

-- Total payment of all electricity for two freezers, two refrigerators, one range, one rethermalizing unit, as well as regular lighting, heating and air conditioning.

-- Water and sewage, bathroom facilities, phone service and use of dining area for 1-8 persons daily.

-- Removal of trash and payment for pick-up.

-- Custodial services to clean the kitchen floor each day.

For a few years Area 7 has paid the Senior Center $100 per month which is $3.30 per day for the services as mentioned above. That is a nominal amount for Area 7 to pay to rent a kitchen and receive the above benefits, one that never increased, as did our utility expenses.

The Senior Center has supported the delivery of meals to shut-ins throughout Putnam County because this is a good program that has helped care for those unable to obtain and prepare meals themselves.

The Senior Center asked Area 7 in January, after they let their 2012 lease expire, to pay a greater portion of their expenses, amounting to an extra $50 per month or $1.70 per day, rather than expect our 70-90 year-old Senior Citizens to work exceedingly hard at fundraising to support their program more that they personally pay.

After all, Area 7 does receive federal funding to support their program -- we do not.

We also did not want food delivered on Thursday mornings when we have many people at the Center. Finally, we certainly did not just "request" that they leave as stated in the article. That was their choice rather than pay a fairer share of their expenses. We love Nancy, the site manager, and the delivery people and would have liked to continue our affiliation with the Area 7 food program; however, it just wasn't reasonable for our Senior Citizens at the Center to carry such a great burden of the program's costs.

As the interim director of Area 7 assured us, homebound meals will be delivered, no person will be without a job, and another local area will be found to serve in-house meals.

For us, this is a little like saying goodbye to an old friend for Meals on Wheels has been important to us for a very, long time.

Sharon Pitcock


Putnam County Senior Center