Upper Shore Aging, Social Services Give Yearly Reports

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After last week’s meeting which started off with a protest against the proposed rubble fill north of Massey it was back to the same old routine for the commissioners this week.

Representatives from Upper Shore Aging Inc. and the Department of Social Services presented yearly reports required for both agencies to receive continued funding from the state.

According to Gary Gunther, executive director of Upper Shore Aging, 29 percent of the county’s population is over the age of 60, which is the required age to be classified as an “older American” by both the state and federal government.

Because of the county’s large senior population Kent may receive extra funding next year for senior care programs.
“We have had confirmation verbally, but haven’t had anything in writing yet,” said Gunther.

The commissioners cautioned Gunther that until it was in writing, not to count on any extra money from the state or federal government.

Upper Shore Aging is the designated Area Agency on Aging for Kent, Talbot, and Caroline counties. It develops and manages programs focused on allowing elders to remain and live well in their homes as long as possible. It also provides activities and services through the Amy Lynn Ferris Activity Center and the Department of Social Services.

Linda Webb, director of the Department of Social Services, came to the meeting to discuss food. Specifically food donated to the Community Food Pantry through the federal government’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, which provides food and funding for the pantry.

In 2010 more than $55,000 worth of food was donated to the food pantry, the majority of which came from the USDA, Webb said. There were more than 2,000 visits to the pantry in 2010, averaging out to about 200 families a month. Most of the families that are served by the food pantry are referred by the Department of Social Services.
The amount of food and funding the pantry receives each year is based on the poverty and unemployment level in the county, said Webb. For this upcoming year the food pantry is expected to receive the same funding amount as last year, $1,500, which is used to cover storage and distribution costs.

Commissioner William Pickrum asked if social services receives word from the USDA when “bonus packages are available?” He was told that the agency receives an email from the state letting them know when extra food and funds are available.

The commissioners approved the reports from Upper Shore Aging Inc. and the Department of Social Services, allowing both agencies to move forward with the funding process.

Letters to Editor

  1. As a member of the State Commission on Aging, I think it is a little misleading to include a general statement indicating that there may be more money for senior programs. Governments at all levels are, needless to say, short of funds, and are having to make hard choices. Although funding levels for some discrete programs may be adjusted upward slightly, the per capita expenditure for seniors will not be able to increase proportionately with the number of us who are entering our senior years. Moreover, Kent County older adults have arguably been and continue to be short-changed in budgeting for senior services.
    Muriel Cole
    President, HomePorts Board of Directors

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