Dane Co. budget to restore senior meal program funding

Dane Co. budget to restore senior meal program funding
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi

A new investment in Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s 2014 budget restores funding for a county senior nutrition program, according to a release.

The program lost funding after federal sequestration cuts were made to the Federal Older Americans Act, according to the release.

“Federal government gridlock is putting an increased strain on Dane County and the critical services we provide our residents,” Parisi said in the release. “Despite these challenges, we continue to provide important assistance and programs for our seniors, veterans and young mothers in need.”

The Middleton Senior Center is one of 28 senior meal sites across the county that provides nutritious food and fellowship for adults older than 60 through the Senior Nutrition Program of Dane County, according to the release. The program helps seniors afford nutritious meals in the face of rising out-of-pocket health care costs over what Medicare pays, and growing energy and food costs.

Funding in Parisi’s 2014 budget for the Senior Nutrition Program in Dane County includes $16,000 to offset sequestration cuts that will keep all of the sites open and operational, according to the release. It costs around $14,000 to run one meal site.

More than 223,000 hot, nutritious meals were delivered to more than 4,800 older adults at senior dining sites and through home delivered meals in Dane County over the past 12 months, according to the release. Meals are often served five days a week and the meal itself provides more than a third of the recommended daily nutrition for older adults.

Parisi also detailed the effect of a prolonged shutdown of federal government will have on Dane County’s veterans.

Veterans may have increased difficulty access the services they deserve with some information hotlines and outreach services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs affected by the shutdown, officials said.

The Dane County Veterans Service Office remains open and available to help veterans with anything from a job search to home ownership, and veterans are still able to contact the county VSO to sign up for benefits.

The federal VA said they have enough funding available to process claims and payments in compensation, pension, education and vocational rehabilitation programs through late October, according to the release. However, if the shutdown continues for a prolonged period of time, the VA said programs will be suspended when funding is exhausted.

Parisi also said Monday that the WIC program will remain operational in Dane County despite some national reports.