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Addison kicks in $5K to keep senior meals

October 27, 2010 - Hot meals and good times are still going to be a fixture at the Addison Township senior center.

The senior center, located in the Addison Township Complex at 1440 Rochester Rd., was in danger of losing it's nutritional meal program from the Older Person's Commission (OPC) for seniors who visit the center on a daily basis.

There is no danger now as the Addison Township Board of Trustee's unanimously approved a revision in their current contract to pay OPC $5,000 for one year to help support the nutrition program for Addison Township at their Monday, Oct. 18 meeting.

The revised contact must be reviewed by Twp. Attorney Robert Davis.

Executive Director of OPC Marye Miller was present at the meeting in order to speak with the board about the problem they are facing.

"What is happening is the state cut us about 18 percent last year in nutrition...that cut is still there and on top of that for the fiscal year for nutrition, we were cut another 8 percent, so we have to look at making cutbacks in our program," Miller said.

Miller noted that an average of 10 meals-on-wheels were served a day in Addison, with over half of them going to homebound residents.

"Our frailer seniors are the one's who are coming in on-site and they need to be able to do that. Otherwise, they are going to be isolated in their home," she said.

The biggest day for the nutritional program is on Thursday with an average of 16 meals served during the woodworking class that meets at the center.

Since taking over the nutrition program in 1995, the number of seniors taking in meals at the Addison Senior Center has decreased.

The OPC was paying for a hostess to be at the center four hours a day, five days week. But with daily numbers dwindling and a decrease in funding, they could no longer afford the program at the center and it would have to be cut.

"We cannot handle the site because that is where the cost is," Miller explained. "Unfortunately, it's the only thing in your township that the seniors have to participate in."

If the senior center was cut, meals-on-wheels would have continued to go to the homebound residents, but they would have been prepared and brought from Rochester instead of the Addison senior center.

Miller was hoping for a partnership with the township.

"We are hoping to not cut the center out but really partner with you to come up with a site hostess."

Miller asked for the township to pay $5,000 to cover the salary of the current senior center hostess.

Addison Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson asked her what would happen if they only supported some of the program and decide not to give the full amount.

"If we could have enough people coming out here on Thursday, we would have a site hostess coming out here for two hours to serve that on Thursday, but it would be tough to get someone to work for two hours in the community," she said.

"You have a wonderful person right now that works and does a lot more than just meals...since this has been a site that only has one hostess, they take care of everything for the seniors in the area," Miller added.

Pearson stated that the board's decision was pretty clear.

"The option is we don't have anybody or we contribute and you would be able to provide someone for the service that we are getting now," he said.

Trustee Ed Brakefield did not want to see the money go directly towards the hostess salary or single person. Instead, he suggested that the township should designate the money for the nutrition program in Addison Twp.

"What I would like to do is fade away from the title of sharing salaries...I would want it to be $5,000 to go to the OPC nutrition program for the use of Addison Twp. and then whatever you wanted to do with it, that could be done," Brakefield said.

Addison Township Clerk Pauline Bennett agreed. "I would kind of like to do a one year contract of some sort where we are billed...and maybe put something in there that is for service five days a week, four hours a day or whatever you feel is necessary," she said.

Trustee Linda Gierak asked where the money would come from. According to Bennett, the $5,000 would be coming out of the community projects fund.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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