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.

Empty Plates

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”!


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.”

03-05-13 Pic 2

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.


Long-term Impact of Cutting Senior Nutrition Program Funding

March 14, 2013

The Administration estimates that as many as 4 million meals to older adults could be eliminated as a result of the sequester.  In San Diego County, over 100,000 meals will be cut and Senior Community Centers will loose funding for 32,000 meals.

These cuts are particularly devastating at a time when the need and demand for senior nutrition programs is growing at an unprecedented pace.  Local organizations who provide nutrition for seniors will soon be forced to take one or more of the following actions:

  • Eliminate or reduce meals;
  • Eliminate or reduce staff who serve older adults;
  • Reduce the quality of the meal; and/or
  • Reduce the number of delivery days.

These actions will cause enormous hardship to many older adults who need good nutrition to remain healthier, more independent and out of long-term care facilities.

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 A Senior Community Centers home-delivered meals driver is bringing lunch to one of our clients. With sequestration going forward, services like these may be drastically reduced nationwide.

Senior nutrition programs serve a distinct group of older adults who are often more isolated and in the greatest economic or social need.  Frequently, the meal that is provided is their only guaranteed source of nutrition each day.The long-term impact of cutting senior nutrition programs could be:

  • Older adults will end up in hospitals and or nursing homes due to health issues related to the failure to maintain a proper diet.
  • Hospital stays will add significant costs to Medicare and Medicaid at a time when efforts are being made to reduce these costs.

Join me in urging Congress to exempt senior nutrition programs from sequestration! 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.

Find all the tools you need for contacting your representatives here!


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.


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