Senior meal program gets stimulus funding

Federal stimulus funding could mean as many as 95 more meals per week for seniors in Clallam and Jefferson counties served through Olympic Community Action Programs.

"With the higher costs of fuel and commodities, we were worried about the viability of the program," said Barbara Rasmussen, planning and program manager for the Olympic Area Agency on Aging.

The state Department of Social and Health Services received $1.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment funds to provide and deliver meals through senior nutrition programs.

The four-county Olympic Region received $110,000, with Clallam County receiving $24,000.

"We're hearing the funds are to be released in July. We'll be getting a per meal stipend. So we'll be increasing our counts and providing more meals," said Kathy Crowley, OlyCAP's senior nutrition program manager.

OlyCAP is funded $3.15 for each congregate or home-delivered meal, so the stimulus funding will provide about an additional 95 meals per week, she said.

The agency anticipates serving 41,000 congregate meals this year in Clallam and Jefferson counties and 27,000 home-delivered meals in the two counties, Crowley said.

Congregate meals are served to people 60 and older in community centers, such as senior or community centers, including Suncrest in Sequim.

Home-delivered meals, or "Meals on Wheels," are served to elderly or disabled adults on Medicaid who are home bound and unable to prepare meals for themselves.

They receive hot meals delivered to their homes, as well as frozen meals for weekends and days that hot meals are not scheduled for delivery.

OlyCAP's senior nutrition program has some farmers market vouchers still available for the 2009 season. The program has distributed more than 250 vouchers so far.

Remaining vouchers will be distributed by application on a first come; first served basis.

Seniors 60 years and older who have a monthly income of less than $1,669 or $2,246 for a two-person household are eligible for $40 in vouchers.

Applications are available at all area Community Centers, OlyCAP offices and the Sequim Senior Activity Center.

They must be mailed to OlyCAP's Port Angeles office, 228 W. First St. Port Angeles, WA 98362.

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@

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