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Knox County Nutrition Center Struggling To Stay Afloat
By Echo Menges
The Knox County Nutrition Center has been providing meals to local seniors since 1979. According to the Center’s Director, Jeanne Perrigo, support for the center is the lowest she’s seen it in the 27 years she’s been working at the site and worries the center will go under.
The Nutrition Center serves one meal a day on site or by delivery Monday through Saturday. Seniors who need a meal on Sunday can have two delivered on Saturday. For many local seniors the Nutrition Center provides the only real meal they get. If a senior in the county can’t get to the site to eat they can call the center and a meal will be delivered to them. Anyone 60 years old or older can eat at the center or have a home delivery for a “suggested” modest donation of $3.00 a meal. Anyone under 60 years old can eat at the center for $6.25 a meal.
Perrigo says the site still gets some good crowds a few days a month but for the most part the Nutrition Center’s turnout and orders for the home delivery program are dwindling.
“We have a good crowd on the first Wednesday of the month when we have turkey and dressing and the whole ball of wax. We need more support when we have regular meals like sub sandwiches.” Said Perrigo.
Just a year ago the center was delivering between 25 and 30 meals a day. For the past several months they’ve been delivering as little as two or three.
“We’re losing people who are dying or going to the nursing home and no one is coming in to take their place. In the last two or three years we’ve probably lost at least 25 to 30 people. Older people are not moving to Knox County and our numbers are down. So yes we are hurting.” Said Perrigo. “It’s been really bad. In the last six to eight months it really fell off.”
Perrigo worries the center will continue to go down in numbers and may not be able to survive. She says the center’s budget has been cut twice this year alone.
“Our funds have been cut and our numbers are down. If we don’t have the money to keep operating we won’t have a choice. What worries me is the people we have who need the service. What are they going to do if something happens and we can’t be there?” Said Perrigo. “I don’t know what will happen down the road. We have to make up quite a bit of money every month. A thousand dollars maybe more. We need help. We need support.”
If you would like to eat at the Knox County Nutrition Center you can go between 11:30am and 12:30pm Monday through Saturday. It is located on the west side of the Edina Town Square across from the courthouse lawn. If you are 60 years old or older you can have your meal delivered by calling the center by or before 10:30am at 397-2296.