Sr. Services receives grants for meals programs

CONYERS - Rockdale County Senior Services received two grants this week totaling more than $31,000 that will supplement the county's Meals on Wheels program for the elderly.

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners voted to accept the grants during its meeting Tuesday. One is for $5,000 from the Snapping Shoals EMC Trust Board of Directors and another for $26,479 from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The funding is welcomed news for Senior Services. Earlier this year, the Senior Center had to make adjustments to trim services to meet cuts in state funding.

The division worked with its vendor to serve the same number of meals as before but reduce home delivery from five to three days a week. It also worked out new contracts to provide napkins and plastic utensils as another cost-saving measure.

"The grants really help us out in that we can keep going with the services, but we still get so many requests for home-delivered meals," said Jackie Lunsford, director of Rockdale County's Senior Services Division.

The ARC grant is a distribution of federal stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money will fund 1,780 congregate meals at the Senior Center at Dogwood Drive and another 1,078 home-delivered meals with funding going through June. The grant also included funding for an additional worker and expenses.

The grant required a local match of $3,970, which was paid from the Senior Services' various fundraising efforts including the annual Rubber Ducky race, Lunsford said.

The Snapping Shoals EMC grant came from the utility's Operation Round Up program in which customers agreed to round up their electric bill to the nearest dollar each month. The Trust's Board of Directors solicit applications for individuals, agencies and students seeking scholarships.

Lunsford said the only direction Snapping Shoals gave for the grant was "to use for the meals program." She said the money was used to extend the Meals on Wheels program, the liquid diet supplement program and the emergency meals program.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones