Cabell commission gives $45K to senior meal program

May 10, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON - The Cabell County Commission approved funding of $45,000 from the county’s senior citizens levy to pay for meal programs at two low-income apartments for seniors.

Nutrition programs at Riverview East Apartments in Guyandotte and Riverview Manor on 13th Street will now be able to feed more than 72 seniors for the remainder of the year.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to fund the programs after the item was amended to the commission’s agenda Thursday.

Charles Holley, executive director of Cabell County Community Services Organization (CCCSO), requested commissioners’ help in a letter and said the programs would be without funding beginning Friday.

Holley said CCCSO receives money from the Older Americans Act to feed seniors in the county. The funds, administered by the state, are allocated in two categories, one for home-delivered meals and one for meals served in a group setting.

The home delivered meals are meant to serve vulnerable seniors who are homebound or live alone. The group meals, also known as congregate meals, feed seniors and promote socialization.

Holley said the state allows some reallocation of funds between the two categories, but makes the home-delivered meals a priority since that population is more at risk for malnutrition.

A year ago, CCCSO came upon a surplus of funding for group meals after attempts to increase participation at four senior centers and two nutrition sites fell short. They decided to start group meal programs at Riverview East and Riverview Manor using the leftover money.

“The demand at both of these sites far exceeded our expectation,” he said. “We anticipated a need for 40 to 50 meals a day, but have experienced a need for 70 to 80 meals a day.”

The meals are the only access to food that many seniors at the apartments have, he said. The organization ran into problems because the demand for group meals exceeded the funding allocated for that program. They asked the state to shift some of the money from the home-delivered meals to cover the group meals, but the state capped the amount of money, Holley said.

The program costs $6.25 for each meal served for the remaining 100 days of the year, excluding holidays. For 72 seniors, that amounts to $45,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in September.

“I would point out there is sufficient funds within the senior citizens levy to accomplish that,” said Commissioner Jim Morgan. “As a matter of fact, there’s quite sufficient funds to accomplish that.”

Morgan said there is $627,273 currently in the senior citizens levy fund.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, commissioners heard a report from Milton Mayor Tom Canterbury for the proposed floodwall in that city. The city wants to build 8,000 feet of floodwall, a gate closure and two pump stations using money given to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Canterbury said the city wants to build the floodwall within the next six years and explained that it will be at no cost to the county.

Commissioners said they wanted to hear Thursday’s presentation before writing a letter of support for the project.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.