IRON RIVER—In many areas of the U.P., the nutrition programs have been on the decline.
Iron and Dickinson counties are no exception, said Gene Callovi, president of the Iron River Senior Citizens Center Site Council.
“The decline in the nutrition program has put the Iron River center at risk of losing the entire program,” said Callovi.
“If a way cannot be found to reverse the trend, further cuts may have to be made.”
It was noted that the center in Iron River was established nearly 40 years ago.
At that time, the mines were closing, and the center was a great place to meet, enjoy a nutritious meal, and a good place to meet with friends and relatives, among other great programs, said Callovi.
“The voters of Iron County have continuously voted a .027 millage, along with numerous fundraisers to help keep the center open,” said Callovi.
Approximately 65 percent of the voters have supported millage to help keep the local center open and operating.
However, only about 5 percent of the people are actually using it for meals, card games, bingo, rentals, etc., said Callovi.
“The Iron River Center is your center, owned by the county of Iron. The local Site Council has been charged with the care of the building and grounds, along with working with the senior nutrition program,” he added.
The nutrition program is handled by DICSA (Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency), working in conjunction with the center’s Site Council.
It also handles the transportation and weatherization program help for those in need, the bi-monthly and quarterly food commodities, just to name a few, said Callovi.
“A number of centers have had to close in the last couple of years due to the decrease in participation. Last year, the Iron River center was forced to reduce congregate meals to four days a week from the regular five,” he said.
Currently, the homebound still receive regular meals.
The cost of preparing a nutritious meal costs about $8.39 per meal, Callovi noted.
“The participants are asked for a $4 donation. Your attendance would help reduce those costs.
“Recently, the center has only been serving 10 to 20 congregate meals per day. Yes, there are times when there are many more, but not nearly enough,” said Callovi
“Shortly, DICSA and the Iron River Senior Center Site Council will be conducting a survey in the Iron County Reporter and the Daily News to see what you would like to see done at your center.
“Your help is needed to keep the center open. Please review the survey and return with your thoughts and possible suggestions for improvements.”