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Seniors council forms

Nik Dirga, Sierra Sun

The formation of the Truckee Tahoe Seniors Council last week means that the Truckee-Tahoe area’s senior citizens will now have a nonprofit corporation dedicated exclusively to meeting their needs.

The council, which nominated its first board of directors Thursday, will provide fund-raising support and continuity in the administration of the area’s senior meals program and other senior services.

“It was really great to see how the community came together around this issue,” said Tamara Lieberman, program officer with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, who led the meeting Thursday.

The formation of a permanent senior advocacy organization has long been a goal for the area’s senior advocates, but a crisis this year helped the dream become a reality.

In April, the Serve Our Seniors program that provided meals to seniors throughout Truckee and the North Shore announced due to financial shortfalls, it would have to end services. The program had been administered by Serve Our Seniors, Inc., of Orangevale, Calif.

But Nick Buick, a part-time resident of Truckee and the director of three San Francisco meal programs, quickly took over the meal contract and serving of hot meals continued uninterrupted. Buick’s company will now coordinate its efforts with the senior council, and remain an independent contractor.

The focus of Thursday’s meeting was on determining the organizational structure of the Truckee Tahoe Seniors Council and the scope of its services.

“There was a lot of comments that it was a shame that it always had to come to a crisis before we thought about our seniors,” said Dave Dunlap, one of the council’s founding board members.

At the meeting, attended by approximately 30 community organization representatives, the first board of directors was nominated by acclimation.

The board will include Dunlap, Tom Ballou, Larry Larson, Brenda LeBlanc and Lauren Platz.

Following Thursday’s meeting, the council was expected to file its articles of incorporation and the founding board will meet to create and adopt by-laws and appoint committee chairs.

Eventually, the permanent council roster of as many as 100 community members will be seated; that council will meet only one or two times a year, and its primary function will be the election of the board of directors. Council members can also contribute to the cause in other ways.

“The idea is to get it as broad a representative of the community as possible,” said Dunlap.

At least four standing committees were formed at the founding meeting, and will report to the board of directors. The committee responsibilities include meals, health, fund-raising and outreach/activities.

The chair of each committee will recruit, supervise and coordinate volunteers to sit on the committees.

An advisory committee of senior citizens will act to advise the board of directors, although, as Dunlap noted, “there’s nothing to say that a senior could not be on the board itself.”

For now, the senior council will not take over running the meals program.

“This organization did not come together to be a provider of services,” said Lieberman. “It’s really to see that funding and continuity is there.”

However, Buick, whose Truckee Sierra Senior Services is currently providing meals service, said he does hope that eventually the new council might expand its scope.

“What I really want and envision is that this board will develop over time into being responsible for these services,” he said.

Buick did reiterate his commitment to providing meals for the immediate future.

The council organizers decided to leave debate on the future scale of the organization to the fledgling board of directors to discuss.

Buick also said he felt that Nevada and Placer counties needed to contribute more to senior services.

Local residents have been generous in their gifts to the senior meals program since the financial shortfall was announced, it was noted at the meeting.

Nearly $24,000 has been donated to the cause by the Truckee-Tahoe community, including $10,000 by one anonymous donor.

“We have a total of $23,975, a pretty good start,” said Helen Solli-Nowlan.


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