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More Money Needed for Meals

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)-A Johnson County organization, is struggling to find enough money to feed a growing senior citizen community.

The Heritage Area Agency on Aging, the regional organization that distributes federal dollars used by local groups such as Johnson County's Elder Services Inc., has announced that a decline in voluntary contributions.

"Who likes to say no to someone who is needy," Elder Services Inc. Executive Director Susan Blodgett said.

When she looked at the company's finances for the upcoming fiscal year, she saw that money will be tight.

They distribute meals 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to at least 1,000 homebound seniors who can't drive to the local diner for a meal. These seniors also may not have enough money to buy a meal.

Due to federal budget cuts, they aren't going to be receiving the cash they need to feed enough hungry mouths.

"This is a drastic meal cut for us for next year," Blodgett said. "Last year we served 77,000 OAA meals. This next year we're allocated 53,000. That's a huge drop. That means someone will not receive a meal unless we have the funding for it."

Johnson County Supervisor Janelle Rettig couldn't agree more.

"Johnson county is very concerned about elder nutrition," she said. "We're frustrated by what seemed to be small federal budget cuts mulitply as they come down.

Some of the seniors can give one dollar or two for their meal. But with food cosdts rising, funding those meals goes up to.
And the seniors don't only rely on food, but also someone to talk to.

"Sometimes that volunteer will go in and help them go through their mail or help them make a call," Blodgett said.

Blodgett said they are expecting to distribute 168,000 to 700,000 meals this next year.

They hope they'll be able to distribute all the meals and more this next year.

"It's very frustrating when we can't put a senior on an OAA meal because that's based on a contribution rate," Blodgett said.

If you want to donate you can attend the fundraiser this Sunday or donate a check directly to Elder Services Inc. by calling (319) 338-0515.

Elder Services Inc. is holding their sixth annual Elderberry Tea event to support the local nutrition program Sunday, May 4,2014.

When: 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Where: University Club, 1360 Melrose Ave. in Iowa City.

Cost: $30 per person or table of 10 for $250. Call 338-0515 and speak to Sandy Andreasen to reserve seats.

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