Lunch program resumes at senior center

ELLSWORTH — Friends in Action resumed serving lunches for seniors at the senior center in the Moore Community Center in Ellsworth on Monday.

The meals, served at noon in the senior café, are a partnership with Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s Community Café program.

Friends in Action volunteers and staff are serving the meals.

Meals should be reserved by calling or emailing Friends in Action at least one day in advance (664-6016 or [email protected]).

The requested donation is $4 for seniors 60 and older. For those under 60 the charge is $4.

There’s a bit of history behind the lunch program.

The nonprofit Friends in Action has provided a lunch program since 2014 in partnership with the Down East Family YMCA.

However, there was a brief hiatus when the program with the Y ended on June 13.

Friends in Action Executive Director Jo Cooper said that the cost of food and staffing was causing a monthly loss.

“The program was simply not sustainable,” Cooper said, “but we understood how important this program was to our clients and their families. This is important nutritionally but also socially. The lunch is a big part of people’s lives.”

Friends in Action receives its funding from individual donations, grants and fundraising yet the organization has a projected deficit for the 2019 fiscal year.

Grant funding has become more competitive and scarce, Cooper said.

“We have a big responsibility to our donors and funders to make our money go as far as possible,” said Cooper.

The Board of Directors felt the meal program was closely aligned with the organization’s mission but the financial loss was too much.

To that end, Cooper began to search for alternatives. Eastern Area Agency on Aging works closely with the organization on a number of programs aimed at assisting older adults. The Community Café program seemed like a good fit.

“They welcomed the idea,” said Cooper. “Both EAAA and the Down East Family YMCA seek to support older adults and we all want this program to work.”

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