Letter to the Editor - Senior Center
March 30, 2022
The Big Sandy Senior Citizens Center
The State Unit on Aging, housed in the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, recently became aware of the struggles of the Big Sandy Senior Citizens center. I, along with our Nutrition Program Manager were fortunate to have the opportunity to support your community at the board meeting held on March 22nd at the center. We were warmly welcomed by the Big Sandy community! With the show of attendance, it’s obvious this community deeply cares for their seniors, and the meals and activity services the center has been providing. The Big Sandy Senior Citizens Center provides over 700 nutritious, appetizing meals to the community every month. According to a national survey in 2021, the majority of participants from congregate meal programs report the program helps them to live independently and that their health has improved because of the program. Participants also say they eat healthier because of the meal program.
Thanks to all of you who came with your questions, concerns, and support to keep the center open. As a result of this s meeting, I feel many issues the center is facing are now on a path to resolution. To begin with, a deep dive financial audit will be completed immediately as one has not been completed in at least 14 years. The audit will help all of us have a better understanding of where the center is and will help guide the Board to prioritize next steps. Everyone at the meeting supported the direction given to the board by the county commissioners and county attorney to conduct this audit. In concert with the audit, the Board will begin revisions of the by-laws and the development of policy and procedures to be implemented. Our office can provide training on the Older American’s Act nutrition services and its requirements. We have also provided the Board with example job descriptions to help with the development of clear expectations of the staff. We are also available to discuss grant opportunities, fundraising ideas, and promotion of other revenue building opportunities.
The following are some of the ways the Big Sandy community can band together to help support one of your most vital senior resources.
• Apply for available positions – The Board has given approval to advertise and fill two positions: cook and dishwasher
• Join the Board – currently two positions are open and three more will be available in May
• Volunteer –cleaning, promoting intake form completion by participants, deliver meals, help with activities
• Donate – Cleaning supplies, fresh garden produce, meat (must be processed in a USDA inspected facility), and monetary contributions are always helpful
• Questions? Contact Crystal at the center.
Respectfully submitted by Kerrie Reidelbach, DPHHS State Unit on Aging Director, Helena