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Senior Resource Center vows to continue to serve as federal budget talk heats up

EUREKA - It's March for Meals, a month when the Humboldt Senior Resource Center spreads the word about senior nutrition programs like Meals on Wheels. But this year those programs are facing pressure from an unlikely source, the federal government.

The Trump administration's preliminary budget proposes to eliminate Community Development Block Grants that give states money to combat poverty including Meals on Wheels programs.

The department of health and human services also funds the program through the Older Americans Act. The budget seeks to cut that department by 16%, though where those cuts will come from is uncertain.

Locally, the Humboldt Senior Resource Center draws 50% of its nutrition funding through community donations. The rest comes from DHHS.

Executive Director Joyce Hayes said, "Our program here in Humboldt is so under funded to begin with, we are not meeting the needs of seniors in this county and so any reduction could be devastating to the program."

Last year, the Center served nearly 70,000 meals at three dining sites and delivered lunch to 150 seniors from McKinleyville to Fortuna.

Coordinators say that meal is often the only contact these homebound individuals have each day. They add that more research is necessary to fully understand the impacts of the proposed budget, and they plan to do whatever it takes to fulfill their mission.