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Senior lunch program saved

Amanda Butler, Sierra Sun

In what has been hailed as a “big, big, miracle,” the Truckee senior lunch program has been saved.

In a meeting held Monday, April 9, Tom Ballou, director of the Truckee Senior Apartments, introduced the answer to many seniors’ prayers.

Nick Buick, a part-time resident of Truckee and a nutrition director of three San Francisco meal programs, has taken over the meal contract and vowed to continue serving hot meals.

“We will be using a corporate shell based out of San Fransico, but the program will be local,” said Buick. “This money will not leave Truckee.”

Buick hopes that keeping the program locally based will help solve some of the problems the previous meal provider, Serve Our Seniors, Inc. of Orangedale, had.

“We have to figure out a way to keep this program sustainable,” said Buick. “I’m not a knight on a white horse with all the answers, but we can all make this happen.”

Buick wasn’t the only resident committed to seeing the senior meal program survive. Over 40 community leaders including the president of the Truckee Rotary Club, representatives from Soroptimists, Lions Club and Interclub were all present Monday.

Everyone was prepared to do what they could to see the program continue.

After listing some capital needs of the program including a new dishwasher, a computer, and meal packager, the crowd tried to estimate the yearly operating cost of the program.

Almost before the list of capital needs was compiled, volunteers were ready to donate the items.

“I didn’t plan on being an auctioneer today,” said Rob Eskridge, a member of the Tahoe Forest Hospital Board of Directors and a concerned resident.

But the capital needs are a one-time expense. Finding the estimated $15,000 to $35,000 needed to keep the program operating throughout the year is the hard part.

Club leaders, known for their ability to raise money, had some ideas.

“All you need is one or two really great events to raise money like this,” said one audience member.

Other ideas to raise the operating costs including bringing back the pancake breakfasts, selling crafts made by seniors, and holding a sled dog race.

But serving hot meals wasn’t the only thing Janet Brady, director of the Community Wellness Center, had on her mind.

“We really need to market these programs to the seniors – make them feel comfortable and safe so we can get them to attend,” said Brady.

Brady hopes that the community will recognize that the seniors need more than just food, the need interaction and healthcare.


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