Sometimes, we use this space to advance an idea we feel would better the community. Other times, we rail against things that we perceive to be wrong. This time, we’re calling out for help.
Due to rising costs in fuel and salaries, state funding that is not rising at all and a county that can not find more funds, seniors in Sussex County are going to be taking a major hit.
At its seven senior centers throughout Sussex County last year, CHEER handed out 92,000 meals to seniors — 73 percent of whom live below the poverty level. With the expected decrease in services due to financial concerns, that number would be cut to 78,428. A bus will also be cut from the Roxana CHEER center, eliminating approximately 8,000 annual trips bring seniors to or from the center. Home services — helping homebound seniors with things such as cooking, dressing and bathing — would also be decreased by 3,500 hours if the funding comes in as expected.
This is a potential nightmare for our seniors — which comprise a significant percent of our demographics.
State Sen. George H. Bunting explained that the state is having problems increasing funds for many charitable groups, and that CHEER should go to Sussex County Council for additional help. Sussex County Administrator Bob Stickels dismissed Bunting’s comments.
Meanwhile, many of our seniors could be facing real problems.
“I don’t see how they’re going to do this. It’s horrible,” said Sheree Stephens, director of the Ocean View CHEER center. “These are people that fought for our country. They’re the ones that built our country. We wouldn’t be here if not for them. Now we’re not going to feed them?”
CHEER does numerous fundraising events throughout the year, but nothing capable of making up the financial difference needed to improve the quality of life for many of our seniors.
So, we’re calling out for help — from state and county officials, and from the community in general — to help save what is truly a great service.
Donate to a few of CHEER’s fundraising efforts, and call your officials. This one’s important.