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SOUTH GATE : Senior Citizen Lunch Funding Increased

October 04, 1992|DUKE HELFAND

An organization that prepares lunches for Southeast-area senior citizens may be able to feed up to 12,000 more clients this year.

President Bush on Wednesday reauthorized the Older Americans Act. The four-year extension calls for a 4.24-cent increase in the per-meal reimbursement rate the U.S. Department of Agriculture pays to nonprofit agencies that serve the elderly. The reimbursement rate went up from 56.76 cents to 61 cents, retroactive to Oct. 1, 1991.

The nonprofit South Gate-based Oldtimers Foundation expects to receive more than $17,000 in reimbursement for meals served from Oct. 1, 1991 to Oct. 1, 1993, said George Cole, the project director.

The foundation, which provides 900 meals at senior citizen centers in South Gate, Bell, Maywood, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lynwood and Artesia, relies on the federal government for 55% of its annual $1.25-million budget, Cole said.

Although the extra funds have yet to be earmarked, Cole said, they could be used to feed up to 12,000 senior citizens through next October.

"Last year, we had a policy of not turning anybody away," Cole said. "With the (funding) increase, we hope to be able to apply that same policy this year."

Last year, the foundation prepared about 12,000 more meals than it had federal funding for, relying on about $20,000 in private contributions to pick up the tab.

The extra money approved last week represents the first federal funding increase for the foundation in nearly a decade, Cole said.

"The money doesn't sound like much, but it will enhance the quality of the meals we serve and will help reverse the (financial) decline we have been going through in terms of our actual purchasing power," Cole said.

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