By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Lisa Tallman, director of the Jones County Senior Center, visited with the Jones County Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Nov. 20 to discuss changes in the program’s funding through the Heritage Area Agency on Aging, and its effects on the Senior Dining Program.
Tallman wrote a letter, which she will send out to businesses throughout Jones County, explaining the situation and asking them to help contribute towards the program.
The Jones County Senior Center serves Anamosa, Monticello, Olin, Wyoming, Oxford Junction and the rural areas of the county.
“I am writing this letter with the hope that you can help fund our local senior center and meal delivery program,” writes Tallman. “We offer nutrition and socialization to the 60-plus population of Jones County.”
For those senior citizens who live alone due to the loss of a spouse and have children and family out of the area, going to the senior dining center in any part of the county allows them to get out of their home and have a well-balanced meal.
“It’s a place to get a good meal and enjoy companionship with others,” described Tallman. “Being able to come to a site helps them to stay active, form new relationships and also provides them with a good meal.”
Tallman says a senior center/meal site can be like a “home away from home” for many seniors.
At the sites, seniors play games, play cards, put together puzzles, play BINGO, watch live entertainment/music, take part in low-impact exercise, do crafts, watch presentations and enjoy potluck meals.
Aside from the meal sites, senior dining also offers home meal deliveries. For that service, Tallman stated, “The need is even greater. We enable seniors to remain at home much longer (through home deliveries), helping them retain their independence, in addition to being healthier and happier.”
With regular deliveries, workers and volunteers with the program are also able to check in on their clients, making sure they are doing okay.
“We’re able to contact family or get medical assistance for them if needed,” said Tallman. “Being able to offer these services gives families peace of mind, knowing that their loved ones are getting proper nutrition and that someone is checking in on them.”
The county senior dining program is a non-profit entity. They do receive some funding on the federal, state and local levels. But as Tallman noted, “We have experienced serious cuts in federal funding for the past two years.”
Seniors who take part in the senior meals on site or at their homes do so based on a suggested donation towards the program.
“Because of this,” noted Tallman, “no senior is denied our services, but due to further cuts in funding and the rising cost of gas and food, we need your help to provide this invaluable service to our community.”
Tallman informed the Supervisors that the Jones County program is the third largest under Heritage. She said if funding is cut even further, she is proposing to stand alone as an organization.
“We want to keep this program,” pleaded Tallman. “We don’t want to have to have the county responsible for this program and be a burden on the county.”
Heritage cut 80,000-some meals within the region they serve. Tallman said 3,000 of those meals were from Jones County.
On Sunday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 10 p.m., there will be a telethon on KCRG 9.2 to help raise money for the Heritage Area Agency on Aging. When pledging your donations, you can stipulate that you want your contribution to specifically go towards the Jones County senior meal program.
For further questions or to donate towards the program, contact Tallman at 319-462-4484. Monetary gifts are tax deductible.
In other business:
• The Board set a public hearing on the county’s five-year construction program on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 10:30 a.m.
• County Engineer Derek Snead received a request from a landowner on Clay Mills Road about the possibility of putting rock on the dirt road.
Snead prepared a cost estimate for 2,200 feet of roadway. The total cost to the landowner would be $39,200. Snead said the county would share in some of the costs, except fencing or any utility relocation.
Snead told the Board that this road is not highly traveled, but does cause issues for farmers’ machinery when it rains.
• Michele Lubben, land use administrator, informed the Board about discussion items for the Nov. 20 Board of Adjustment meeting. An applicant who owns land in both Dubuque and Jones counties wants to put a sign up on their property where they own a winery off Highway 151 near Cascade. The proposed sign is higher than Jones County’s ordinance allows for.