September 13, 2007

MFH Grant Will Help Upgrade Local Senior Nutrition Center

With much of its equipment dating back to its inception nearly 25 years ago, the Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center was facing some difficult financial decisions in the near future.

Thanks to the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) some of those choices will be a little easier. The largest health care foundation in the state recently announced two grants in northeast Missouri.

The Senior Center in Memphis will receive a two-year grant totaling $51,478 to assist in providing food and nutritional services to the elderly and disabled in Scotland County. The Northeast Missouri Health Council received a $200,000 grant to assist the organization in funding health care services to low-income and medically indigent patients in the region.

Senior Center director Barbara Smith stated the grant award was announced late in August.

“It was really a shot in the arm when we got the news,” she said. “It was perfect timing.”

Triplett said that much of the center’s equipment has been around since the facility was built nearly a quarter of a century earlier. The age was beginning to show.

“We were looking at some big cost items, replacing the large cooler in the kitchen as well as a refrigerator and several other pieces of equipment,” she said.

The grant will allow the center to upgrade the facilities’ sprinkler system in the kitchen to bring it up to speed on safety requirements.

“That was $2,500 or more that we were going to have to come up with this year as that was definitely a top priority,” Smith said.

Proceeds from the grant, which will be split between the 2007 and 2008 fiscal year budgets, will also be used to meet payroll needs.

“Because of budget constraints we had been forced to reduce staff and cut hours when the minimum wage went up,” Triplett said. “The grant will allow us to reinstate those cutbacks.”

Other projects Smith said the center will be considering are roof and driveway repairs as well as upgrading the center’s air conditioning.

The director praised the efforts of Senator Wes Shoemyer in making the grant possible.

“He really helped us out with this project,” Smith said. “Mr. Shoemyer put us in contact with the foundation people and helped me get started in preparing the grant application.”

Smith completed the application this spring and it was submitted prior to the July deadline for the third quarter awards.

The MFH was created in January 2000 to receive assets accumulated by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri (BCBSMo) prior to its conversion from nonprofit to for-profit status. The entity has funded a number of projects in Scotland County including expansion of the area’s ambulance service, several programs at the Scotland County Health Department and numerous upgrades and expansion projects at the hospital.

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