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Committee pitching in to provide senior meals
During the recent days of federal stimulus dollars, Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) was able to provide good nutritious meals for Sequim seniors five nights a week.
With that funding gone, OlyCap has cut back to three nights a week. By 2012 the meals will be reduced to two a week.
Not to worry — yet.
The recently formed Sequim Senior Meal Program Committee is “making up the difference,” said Rochelle McHugh, co-chairman with Sue Christensen of the new committee.
McHugh said with help from the community she and her fellow volunteers now are providing the “same quality meals” the seniors enjoy the other three nights of the week. They’ve turned to the Sequim Food Bank, local churches and other do-gooders for the necessary funding, food and volunteers.
McHugh noted that “Historically, about 45 people enjoy the meals each night.”
She said for many “The social aspect is almost as important as the nutrition. A lot of times they’re single people, older, of course, and of lesser means.”
McHugh said the committee has the resources in place to ensure good, hot meals through December.
The committee has been paying for the cook, “about $100 a night,” McHugh said.
Food bank pitches
The Sequim Food Bank has been a big help, McHugh said, and now is supplying most of the food.
Committee member Bob Spinks, who also serves on the board of the Sequim Senior Activity Center, said Stephen Rosales, interim food bank director, “has been instrumental in plugging the immediate funding gap through December. He also has forged a new relationship between the
Sequim Food Bank and the meal program.”
“This is a great example of the ‘new normal’ in social and helping services,” Spinks said. “As traditional funding is cut, local communities will be forced to fund and staff social needs or they will slowly disappear.”
More money and help is needed. Toward that end, the committee members are putting together a presentation for churches and other organizations “to raise money and get volunteers,” McHugh said.
The meals are served at Suncrest Village, 251 S. Fifth Ave. in Sequim, Monday-Friday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. To participate in a meal, make reservations 24 hours in advance by phoning Suncrest Village at 683-8491. A $3 donation suggested.
Those who would like to help can send cash donations to “Sequim Senior Meals” c/o OlyCAP, 803 W. Park Ave., Port Townsend, WA 98368.
The committee is continuing to work with OlyCAP, which provides an organizational umbrella for the effort. “We’re using their same cook and their same facilities,” McHugh noted.
To volunteer time or donate food items, contact the co-chairmen, Sue Christensen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rochelle McHugh (email@example.com).
Reach Mark Couhig at firstname.lastname@example.org.