Senior meal delivery program hoping for more funding

The Gathering Place Senior Activity Center is projecting a $70,000 funding shortfall because it’s on track to feed twice as many meals to more elderly residents due to the pandemic this year, even though the center has been closed since mid March.

To help cover the additional expenses, the center’s executive director Ben Guerrant intends to ask Boyle County Fiscal Court, and Danville to increase their allocations. He’s also planning to ask Perryville and Junction City governments for financial assistance for the first time.

Though Guerrant hasn’t formally appeared before fiscal court yet to ask for help, he did submit a written explanation and request which stated, “This year has presented unique financial challenges to everyone. With that in mind, I humbly ask if the court finds itself in a position where additional funding could be allocated to serve the senior citizens of Boyle County, that all considerations be given for the Home Delivery Meal Program here at A Gathering Place.”

When the county and city developed their budgets for this fiscal year, allocations were cut because they were also receiving less tax revenue because of the pandemic.

Danville made the deepest cut to the senior center, which went from $66,500 down to $27,500. Boyle’s allocation went from $75,000 down to $67,500.

According to Guerrant, 62% of meals delivered to senior citizens are in the Danville city limits; 22% are in Junction City; 12% are made to residents outside of any city limits; and 4% were made to seniors in Perryville.

Guerrant said, “I want to ask for additional funding. If they look at their budget, if there is any possibility of excess funds available we’d like to be put at the top of the list.”

In the written presentation to fiscal court, Guerrant wrote that prior to suspension of on-site services at The Gathering Place Senior Activity Center and Adult Day Health Care, they delivered 58 meals to seniors’ homes Monday through Friday. Also, 35 meals were served to seniors at the center every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, making a total of 395 meals served per week.

Currently, the center is delivering 160 meals Monday through Friday, which totals to 800 meals per week. “That’s a lot of meals,” Guerrant said.

“We are on track to deliver 41,600 meals to senior citizens in their homes to feed their nutritional needs,” Guerrant wrote.

The center’s total funding is $233,941 with $100,478 from Title III federal funds; $67,500 allocated by Boyle County Fiscal court; $27,500 allocated by Danville; and $38,463 one-time COVID/CARES funding.

The total projected expenses for the home delivered meal program is $303,520, for a shortfall of $69,579.

Guerrant said he is hoping that more federal grants will be made available to help feed the elderly, “But that’s all up in the air.”

What happens to the senior meal delivery program if the center isn’t allocated more funding? Guerrant answered,

“We pray that it works out.”