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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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


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.



Meet A Senior Who Benefits from Senior Nutrition Programs

March 15, 2013

Last week, Carol celebrated her 70th birthday. Carol is one of our home-delivered meals clients and told me more than once that our senior nutrition program made a huge impact on her life.

“I don’t know how I would have survived without you because I was stuck and could not get out and go anywhere. Your food saved my life.”

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Last summer, Carol fell and broke both of her shoulders. After being released from a nursing home, she was in no shape to get dressed, shower or let alone go grocery shopping or cook. The light at the end of the tunnel was a phone call to our Home-Delivered Meals Coordinator Ronda which resulted in a warm meal to be delivered to Carol the very next day.

The continuous visits of our delivery drivers caused a chain reaction on Carol’s floor: other residents came by to ask how they can help and new friendships were formed.

“When you’re shut in like me, the home delivery drivers are the only people who knock at my door.”

Carol lost 45 pounds with our balanced meals and never felt more energized. Today, Carol’s shoulders are healing nicely, her new friends are helping with grocery shopping and she feels more confident.

At Senior Community Centers, we serve over 400 home-bound clients like Carol who’s lives depend on our meal deliveries. In addition, our ten congregate dining sites are filled every single day with seniors who would otherwise not eat. We expect to serve 525,000 meals a year that are partly funded through senior nutrition programs.

If you know are in need of meals or know someone who is, please visit Senior Community Centers’ Website for more information. We are here to help.


Call to Action: Contact Congress to Exempt Senior Nutrition Programs from Sequestration

March 13, 2013

Please take a moment and contact your congressional representatives to let them know how important senior nutrition programs are – not only for the seniors we serve, but also for the community as a whole. Find out more in the video below:

Call, write, email, tweet and Facebook our congressional delegation and U.S. Senators and tell them to end the partisan games and get to work. Here is a complete Advocacy Toolkit with all the contact information you need! It is time for us to stop putting up with the dysfunction that passes for leadership and demand that politicians come together for the good of our nation. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1) CLICK ON YOUR REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME  

(Not sure who your rep is? Find out here!)

United States Senate Representatives

Senator Barbara Boxer (D); Ph: 619-239-3884

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D); Ph: 619-231-9712

United States House Representatives

49th District: Rep. Darrell Issa (R); Ph: (760) 599-5000

50th District: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R); Ph: (619) 448-5201

51st District: Rep. Juan Vargas (D); Ph: (619) 422-5963

52nd District: Rep. Scott Peters (D); Ph: (858) 455-5550

53rd District: Rep. Susan Davis (D); Ph: (619) 280-5353

2) COPY AND PASTE THE MESSAGE BELOW INTO THE EMAIL OR WEBFORM THAT OPENS AUTOMATICALLY:

Dear [Senator/Representative],

I am urging you to protect senior nutrition programs from the sequester ordered on March 1.  Sequestration will eliminate over 100,000 meals for seniors in San Diego and 4 million meals nationwide. The impact of the sequester could be far greater than lack of nutritious meals for a vulnerable population who is often more isolated and in the greatest economic or social need.  Frequently, the meal that is provided through senior nutrition programs is their only guaranteed source of nutrition each day.

The longer term impact of these cuts could be that some of these older adults will end up in hospitals and or nursing homes due to health issues related to the failure to maintain a proper diet.  This, in turn, will add significant costs to Medicare and Medicaid at a time when efforts are being made to reduce these costs. We should be investing in these valuable nutrition programs as a means to avoid increasing federal expenditures, not cutting back on them when they are needed most.

We hope you will insist to exempt senior nutrition programs from sequester to avert a human tragedy which will befall some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.  Thank you for your consideration and support.

Sincerely,

3) SEND YOUR EMAIL & TELL YOUR FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME

Senior Community Centers will also hold a Media Event on Thursday, March 14, 2013 to showcase how San Diego Seniors stand Against Sequestration.


Photo Friday: My Meal Matters for Viv

March 16, 2012

senior woman

Viv, 60 years old, poses for a picture. She is just one of many seniors volunteering to share why meals served at congregate meal sites matter. It’s all part of Seniors First San Diego’s advocacy work to illustrate the importance and impact nutrition programs make in the lives of the millions of seniors who participate. Find out more>>>


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