The Nodaway County Senior Center is working to keep its doors open due to funding issues.
The senior center lost 100 percent of its state and federal funding in September 2017. Since then, the center has implemented programs to bring in supplementary income and petitioned for funding. The latest petition for funding was to the Maryville City Council, who denied their request.
City Manager Greg McDanel said they can’t provide funding to the center because they do not have any pre-standing agreements with them.
“First of all, the City of Maryville has never provided funding for the senior center; this was a new request this year from them. Currently, they do a great job with the services they provide, but it is a bit of misconception that there is a pot of money out there that the city has to dole out. So they came and requested funds, and we currently do not have any contractual agreement or any sponsorship opportunities with the senior center.”
McDanel said Missouri law also prevents them from funding the center.
“Missouri Constitution, Article Six, Section 23 prohibits the city of Maryville from essentially granting moneys as a donation to a cause, and this was confirmed by the Missouri Municipal League who stated those need to be contractually based or sponsorship that aligns with our services,” McDanel said. “So, the city of Maryville doesn’t provide any senior services, therefore, we could not justify providing any funds to the group.”
Nodaway County Senior Center Administrator Amie Firavich said if all donations and funding to the senior center were to stop, they would not be able to stay open long.
“Right now, if nobody else gave us funding, we could probably go for a year and a half, but that is with no funding at all,” Firavich said.
However, Firavich said the community has been very generous in helping the center through their time of need.
“This wonderful community that we live in has been very generous in helping us,” Firavich said. “So as long as the community is still helping and we still receive little grants from sources, then obviously our goal is to not shut down and continue forward.”
Firavich said she will continue to petition for funding and push to keep the center open.
“We are in the process of creating a strategic plan, trying to get all of our ducks in a row, and then we are going to apply for funding again come this spring,” Firavich said.
Keeping the center open is key in giving back to seniors of Nodaway County. Firavich said the senior center is often what helps keep seniors out of nursing homes.
“We’re important because of the social aspect of it,” Firavich said. “There are individuals who don’t have any family in the area, they might not even have a spouse, so being able to come into the senior center to have that social aspect, it helps them feel better and live longer, and it keeps them out of the nursing home.”
The senior center also has a meal delivery service for some senior members of the community. Firavich said this program also helps them keep their independence.
“The same with the home-delivered, some of the individuals that we serve they don’t have any family, they don’t have money for food, so, when we can give them one well-balanced hot meal, it helps them with their nutrition needs and keeps them out of the nursing home,” Firavich said. “I mean that is our goal. They want to live in their home for as long as they can, some of them don’t want to go to the nursing home, so the resources that we have enable them to stay independent longer.”