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Worry grows as Senior Center runs out of meal funds

By Tamas Mondovics

That 2020 has been a challenging year for many people throughout the world in general and in Johnson County in particular, there is little doubt. Johnson County Senior Center officials acknowledged that one of the most incredible things about the challenges of the past year has been “seeing the way members of the Johnson County Community have pulled together to help each other meet each challenge headlong to meet the food needs of those in most dire need.”According to Center director Kathy Motsinger, the Johnson County Senior Center has distributed 29,941 meals to senior adults throughout Johnson County from March through November 30 of 2020.

“This remarkable feat was possible only with the assistance of numerous agencies, grants, businesses, and individuals,” Motsinger said.

The Johnson County Senior Center is provided funds by the Johnson County Government and the Town of Mountain City, which covers salaries, utilities, etc. Programs and outreach activities are funded by the government, corporate and community grants, and businesses and individuals’ contributions. Center officials said that 100 percent of the funds donated to any program at the Johnson County Senior Center are spent directly on the activity or purpose to which the donor specified. Sadly there is great concern over what the upcoming year will bring.

“As we go forward to a new year, the funds for meals to be delivered to seniors considered in most dire need are depleted,” Motsinger said.

She explained that Meals on Wheels and the drive-through lunches provided by First Tennessee Human Resources Agency will continue, but admitted that “at this time the Johnson County Senior Center does not have funds to provide 1500 meals during January to those senior adults considered in dire need who have been having meals delivered to them at home.”

The reality is that while grants for such funding will be available for application beginning in January, “those funds will not be distributed until February and March.” Anyone wishing to make a contribution to assist with funding meals for senior adults in Johnson County considered in dire need and without transportation for January may contact Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger or Advisory Board President, Dr. John D. Payne at the Johnson County Senior Center at 727-8883.