Nacogdoches Senior Center survives despite cuts

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - When state and federal funding dropped by 25 percent for home-delivered meals to about 350 shut-ins, the Nacogdoches Senior Center knew it had to make adjustments.

"We are trying our best to keep it afloat," said Greg Sowell, the board's chair.

Senior Center hours were reduced to save on payroll and electricity.

"Maybe later on, maybe things will get a whole lot better and everything will return to normal," said Sue Buckner.

Strictor qualifications were adopted meaning some clients were reluctantly discontinued.

"And still it's not enough," Sowell said.

So now, hot meals are delivered every other day instead of every day. To tie clients over, they receive a frozen meal to reheat for the next day.

To make up for fewer home visits, daily reassurance phone calls are made.

"We were notified that we were in violation of our contract from the Department of Aging and Disabilities Services," Sowell said. "That no matter what, we were under contract to provide 5 meals a week, 5 days a week."

In no uncertain terms, the center asked for a contract waiver.

"I told them this, that if we don't get the waiver, the program is gone," Sowell said.

The negotiations create worry, especially for the ones who are being served.

"Somebody thinks about 'em and helps 'em out for a while," said Frieda Franks, a 93-year-old client.

The waiver was granted, but the contract renewal is just months away.

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