Saving the senior meal service

Amy Edgett
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE and#8212; Sierra Senior services in Truckee is under the gun to find funds, and fast. Increasing needs coupled with decreasing amounts of government funding has stressed the Sierra Senior Services to a projected $50,000 deficit.

A brainstorming session was held at the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation at 8 a.m. to discuss ways to help Sierra Seniors. Sarah Deardorff, executive director of Sierra Senior Services presented funding overview and cost analysis to a group of 25, which included an Area Four Agency on Aging representative, Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens, Stone Soupand#8217;s Deb Ryan, Truckee Sunrise Rotary Club President Jeff Sparksworthy and Project MANAand#8217;s Kaili Sanches and George LeBard. Also in attendance were many concerned community members.

If the congregate meal service is not maintained, there is a potential loss for Area Four funding. Congregate Meal Service is a nutrition service, which provides nutritionally balanced meals that meet one-third of the daily Dietary Reference Intakes, as set by the National Research Council.

During the clarification process, several concerns were voiced including the impact of food scarcity and isolation, seniors as second class citizens in the community and equitable funding for Nevada Countyand#8217;s aging population.

Phebe Bell, the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundationand#8217;s program officer, led the exchange with the purpose of raising $50,000 to keep the service. There were two parts of the discussion: finding resources not yet utilized and the broader question, and#8220;What else can we do?and#8221;

A call will go out to service organizations to boost their contributions to the program. Cindy Gustafson of the Tahoe City Public Utility District will initiate raising awareness in the Tahoe City area and suggesting the use of district facilities for funding and tying in with the Foothill Farmers Market for fresh food and possible venue for donations. Deb Ryan said she feels there is an and#8220;under layerand#8221; of volunteerism waiting to be tapped, citing the positive response Stone Soup received.

The initial drive will be to service organizations, public entities, community appeal, and convene a task force with cost and services and using Slow Food Stone Soup contacts.

Donations for the Sierra Senior Services should be made directly to that organization at 550-7600 or visit A follow-up meeting is scheduled for July 8, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Community Foundation, 11071 Donner Pass Road.

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