Brigham City Senior Center Director fights cuts to keep Meals on Wheels

May 4 2011 - 7:06pm

BRIGHAM CITY -- With budget cuts looming from all levels of government, Brigham City Senior Center Director Nancy Green said she is continually working to meet expanding requests for help with less money.

That fact makes her even more thankful for the volunteers who sustain the senior center and the Meals on Wheels program.

"But everyone knows that Meals on Wheels is my first love and the last thing I will cut," she said.

Cooks at the senior center prepare about 300 meals, five days a week, at an average cost of $4.60 per meal. Every person who has a meal delivered to their home or who eats at the senior center is asked for a minimum donation of $2.50 per meal. Every donation is entirely anonymous.

Iantha Folkman is in charge of fundraising at the senior center to help cover the cost of these meals.

The senior center budget has revenue coming from both federal and state resources in addition to money from county and city budgets. Part of those funds goes to Meals on Wheels, but the center also counts on donations from United Way or the Community Food Pantry and the occasional grant, Folkman said.

"It is easy to get grants for health care, but it is hard to find money for this kind of stuff," she said.

Folkman is always looking for grants, but she often has to seek community support as well. In March, the senior center participated in March for Meals, a program supported by Meals on Wheels Association of America. Box Elder Golden Spike Senior Services, a nonprofit organization, recently sponsored the Murder Mystery Dinner, an annual event that is growing in popularity and raised $1,900 this year.

The Mayor's Advisory Council also held a local talent night in March to raise money for Meals on Wheels, but awareness programs can go a long way toward bringing in those donations.

Another event held in March featured local mayors riding shotgun with Meals on Wheels drivers as they delivered meals for a day.

Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife said the Meals on Wheels program fills a very special need in the community. When he visited seniors several weeks ago, he was surprised to arrive at one home with a meal for a man who turned out to be a former classmate. Another meal that day went to man who had spent 36 years in the military.

"It was a great experience, but it made me realize that we talk about people in other countries needing our help, but we have people with needs right here in our own community," Fife said.

While the big fundraising campaign for March has passed, donations are always welcome.

And, there are many ways that people can contribute all the time. There is a group of recycling bins in the parking lot at the senior center, and a small gift shop inside selling many items made by local seniors. The Mayor's Advisory Council on Aging also makes and sells Aunty's Jam. Proceeds from all of these items help support Meals on Wheels.

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