Economy Forces Center To Turn Away Hungry Seniors
SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — Some elderly citizens at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center are no longer getting a free meal because of the down economy.
Last week, 50 seniors who receive home delivered meals were put on a wait list. Others were turned away at the center.
“Somebody has to help us,” said patron Julio Ferrer.
The lack of meals all comes down to expenses.
Rachelle Dardeau, the senior center’s executive director, said $558,000 of federal money is allocated for the facility by Los Angeles County each year.
However, she has a cost overrun of 30 cents per meal, and the county can’t reimburse any amount above her set budget.
“A lot will depend on what happens in Washington. What we will do is appeal to the community to step up and help the funding gaps, so we can continue to serve the number of seniors we’ve always served,” Dardeau said.
Rafael Carbajal of the L.A. County Community and Senior Services said all the centers throughout the county are facing the same budgetary constraints.
“All we’re doing is advising our senior centers to make sure they live within their means and provide only the meals they can afford at this time,” he said.
In the meantime, Dardeau said they’re trying to assist seniors in other ways.
“If we don’t have enough meals that day, we refer them to our social services department, and we try to find other avenues and other resources for them,” she said.
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center is relying on donations and volunteers to make up for the costs.