Serving more than Healthy Meals to Seniors

September 25, 2013

James is a new senior resident at one of downtown San Diego’s single room occupancy hotels. James is new in San Diego and has no family or friends nearby. The small room is equipped with a twin bed and a tiny sink; bathrooms are shared with other hotel residents. Paying for the hotel room to avoid living on the streets is about all that James can afford.

James found out about Senior Community Centers home delivered meals program through other hotel residents and called to sign up as well. Kimberly, one of our home delivered meals drivers, came by the next day with a hot and nutritious lunch as well as breakfast for the next day. On Fridays, our drivers deliver breakfast and lunch for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, James had to decline the meals because he could not store or heat up the food.

Letting one of our clients go hungry for an entire weekend – and many other weekends to follow – is not an option.  Senior Community Centers’ Food Service Director took extra ordinary measures and discovered a small fridge and a microwave in working condition in our limited storage space.

James was very grateful and surprised when Kimberly delivered a fridge and microwave along with fresh meals during her next visit! We sure made his day and are excited to know that James has access to healthy food seven days a week.

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Find out more about our Home Delivered Meals Program at www.servingseniors.org.

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Picture of the Month: City Council President Todd Gloria Serves Lunch

August 30, 2013

Todd Gloria

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria and his team served lunch at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center this month. While seniors always feel honored to greet and chat with Mr. Gloria, Violet was especially excited about her special birthday experience!

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Want to serve lunch and put big smiles on our seniors’ faces? Visit www.servingseniors.org and find out How to Help!


KPBS Follow-Up Interviews on Sequestration

August 26, 2013

Last week KPBS came by the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center to follow-up on the effect that federal across-the-board budget cuts have on low-income seniors in San Diego County.

Proposed cuts to Senior Community Centers’ Meals Program have increased to $233,000 since sequestration first became a reality in March of this year. At a cost of $2.50 per meal, these cuts leave 93,200 meals unfunded. While the gridlock in Washington to figure out the final budget is getting dangerous, Senior Community Centers is committed to serve high quality food and not turn any hungry seniors away.

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Listen to the interview and find out what seniors have to say here:

August 22, 2013 – KPBS Follow-Up Interview on Sequestration


San Diego Seniors Personally Thank Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52)

June 10, 2013

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) has made a bold statement and continues to advocate that across-the-board spending cuts are unwise: “The rules Congress imposes on others should apply to us too.”

IMG_2408pRep. Peters announced that he will take eight percent of his Congressional salary, which equates to about $1,300 per month, and donate it to Senior Community Centers to supplement meals for at-risk seniors. There is no proof that cutting funds to senior nutrition programs saves tax dollars.  On the contrary, evidence shows that providing seniors nutritionally balanced meals keeps them healthy, independent, and significantly reduces healthcare costs on the taxpayer.

Today, Rep. Peters had the opportunity to meet the beneficiaries of his exemplary gesture of support. He was welcomed at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center with a roar of applause and received genuine handshakes and words of thanks while he served lunch to the seniors.

Senior Community Centers and thousands of San Diego seniors like the ones seen in the video clip below once again say “Thank You, Congressman Scott Peters”!


Lawyers Reach Out: Serving More Than Just Lunch

June 7, 2013

Delivering Food And Smiles to Local Seniors

Guest Blogger: Carra Lassman Rhamy, Senior Deputy County Counsel, San Diego County Counsel (carra.rhamy@sdcounty.ca.gov)

For me, few things these days rival the sense of accomplishment gained from winning a motion or trial – though the experience of serving a hot lunch to a grateful senior comes close. I have done a variety of volunteer work in my life, but this is the first time I did this event. I hope it is not my last.

20130319-_M3A6423Usually I work through my lunches or, if I’m lucky, I take a walk outside to get some exercise. But when the invitation came to volunteer by serving lunch to seniors, I thought I’d give it a try. I met up with a small group of judges and attorneys at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center. We donned our plastic aprons and gloves, and were ready for our assignments. […]

As for the seniors we served, they were wonderful. When we were all assembled and introduced they applauded us before we even started. They were so gracious and thanked us each time we placed or removed a tray. I could tell that for many of them it was going to be the best meal of their day and maybe the only hot one. As I traversed the room doing my assignment I was impressed with the variety of ethnicities I observed and languages I heard. The years of experience I saw in their faces made me feel humble – a feeling that can be uncommon for an attorney. I was very proud to serve them.

It was a very meaningful experience because it brought me pleasure to be able to help someone in such a basic way. I highly recommend it-and not just because I got to see male judges wearing hairnets. It was extremely rewarding and invigorating. When I returned to my desk that afternoon I knew that, even if I had not finished a winning brief, I had accomplished something even more valuable that day.

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This story appeared in the May/June 2013 issue of San Diego Lawyer. It is posted with the permission of the San Diego County Bar Association. Photo Credit: Barry Carlton.

It is always a pleasure to read about the positive experiences that our volunteers create for themselves and for the seniors we serve at Senior Community CentersThank you, Ms. Rhamy, for volunteering and for sharing your thoughts about the event!


Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) Sequesters Own Paychecks for Senior Community Centers

May 7, 2013

Seniors, staff and Senior Community Centers board members are applauding Congressman Scott Peters‘ leadership for speaking up against sequestration.

IMG_1446(Seniors at the Potiker Family Senior Residence located in the 52nd District thank Congressman Scott Peters!)

During Rep. Peters’ recent visit at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, I shared the impact that sequestration has on the seniors we serve. Not only does Congressman Scott Peters fight to protect senior nutrition programs, he just set a powerful example by applying the 8% across-the-board cut to his own Congressional paycheck and donating the difference to Senior Community Centers! Thank you for your support, Congressman Scott Peters!

Please read the full press release below:

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Rep. Peters ‘Sequesters’ His Own Pay; 

Donates it to Feed Seniors In Need

“The rules Congress imposes on others should apply to us too” – Congressman Peters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) applied the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration to his own paycheck, stating that “any rules Congress imposes on federal employees and all Americans ought to apply to us, too.” He will take eight percent of his monthly salary, which equates to about $1,300 per month, and donate it to Senior Community Centers of San Diego to supplement meals for at-risk seniors. The Senior Community Centers has had to cut services to seniors, many of whom are veterans, due to funding losses from the sequester.

“While the idea for the sequester predates my time in Congress, we should all agree that it is terrible policy; none of us would run our business or household budget this way, and it is no way to run a country,” Congressman Peters said.  “In March I introduced a motion to end the sequester and I will continue to look for opportunities to fix it.”

(Video: Congressman Peters’ motion to end the sequester can be seen here)

“Federal employees, military contractors, and thousands of small businesses and individuals who contract with the federal government are being forced to take indiscriminate pay cuts.  Members of Congress should share the impact of these cuts as well.”

“Senior Community Centers has lost nearly $60,000 for our senior meal program due to sequestration. That equates to about 21,000 fewer meals we are able to provide this year,” said Paul Downey, CEO and President.

“Nearly ninety-five percent of the seniors we serve are at or below the poverty line, so these meals make a big difference to their health and their lives. We are grateful to Congressman Peters for his long-time interest and support of what we do, and very much appreciate his leadership and his willingness to do his part to help us help the needy seniors we serve,” he said.

“In San Diego there are more than 30,000 people taking furlough days, and countless other programs are reducing services,” Peters said. “It is my hope that Washington can finally have an adult discussion about our nation’s priorities and the budgeting process.

“Senior Community Centers in San Diego provide life line resources for some of my most vulnerable constituents: low-income seniors, many of whom are below the poverty line, who might not otherwise get the food and care they need.  Sequestration has hit these centers extremely hard, as it has many other organizations in our region.  By donating the sequestered amount of my own pay, at least we can provide some relief from these cuts to area seniors and elderly veterans.”

Senior Community Centers of San Diego noted the impact that the donation would have on their facility: “At Senior Community Centers our cost per meal is $2.65. With $1000, we could provide 377 more nutritious meals to seniors. This investment in meals keeps our seniors well, and reduces the need for more costly healthcare interventions. In San Diego, an emergency room visit begins at $765, while one day in the hospital costs $4,373. Additionally, meals provide social engagement, and educational and wellness opportunities. 71% of older adults who participate in the nutrition program at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center participate in other activities or seek assistance with clinical services.”

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Congressman Scott Peters serves the 52nd District of California which covers much of central San Diego County including large portions of the City of San Diego, Poway, & Coronado.  He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology.  The Congressman is a former City Council President and Port Commissioner.


On The Air with Drew Schlosberg for U-T Community Spotlight – “Impact of Senior Community Centers”

April 9, 2013

A few weeks ago, I shared my radio interview with Drew Schlosberg, host of U-T Community Spotlight covering  “Seniors and Technology.”  We also talked about the wide array of services that are available through Senior Community Centers and the role we play in our community.

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(Click the “On Air” picture to listen to the interview.)

Minute-by-Minute Highlights:

Minute 1:00 – Importance of keeping seniors healthy and independent

Minute 2:02 – Collaborative partnerships save SCC over $1MM

Minute 4:28 – Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center utilization

Minute 5:19 – Homeless Prevention, homelessness trends

Minute 7.47 – Senior Nutrition Program and reasons for hunger

Minute 9.57 – Older Americans Act and what it pays for

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