LOGAN — Hocking Athens Perry Community Action is asking voters to approve a .25-mil, five-year renewal levy to help continue feeding senior citizens in Hocking County who participate in the Meals on Wheels Program.
The Meals on Wheels Program delivers hot and cold lunches to eligible residents three days a week, which in turn feeds them for an entire week.
Seniors who qualify for the program are typically home bound and unable to prepare their own meals, noted HAPCAP Food and Nutrition Director Tracy Galway.
“It helps seniors who want to stay in their home longer,” Galway said, noting the benefits of the program. “They may have other services that they’re getting, like homemaker services and those kinds of things, but they are able to stay in their homes rather than go to a nursing home to ensure they are getting their nutrition needs met.”
In 2007, more than 60 percent of Hocking County voters approved the five-year levy, which enabled HAPCAP to increase services and eliminate their waiting list for the program.
Although HAPCAP once again has a waiting list because of the growing demand of seniors seeking assistance, officials decided to keep the levy amount the same as in 2007.
“We did that because we didn’t want to burden the taxpayers any more than they already are,” noted Mark Hartman, HAPCAP resource coordinator.
“There are more seniors now, just looking at the census numbers,” Galway added. “The senior population is greater now than it ever was. Seniors are living longer, so there’s just more of them, and the other thing is that with the economy the way it is now, the demand for services continues to increase in all of our hunger assistance programs.”
In 2011, nearly 27,000 meals were delivered to participants’ homes and meal sites, compared to 16,373 prior to the levy’s passage in 2007.
According to estimates, the renewal levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home in Hocking County approximately $8 a year.
Without the levy, Galway said that senior services would have to be cut.
“It’s very important for seniors in Hocking County and for the regional food center to continue this levy to continue services to people that desperately need it, and we are choosing to do a renewal so it won’t cost the taxpayers any more than it did five years ago,” Hartman said in support of the measure.