The Healy Senior Center Board of Directors plans to send out letters to appeal for donations from community members that would allow the center to continue operating.
The center opened in 1990 and serves three meals a week to local seniors who can make it to the center and three meals a week delivered through a program that is similar to Meals on Wheels.
“We focus on nutritional meals for the seniors in Southern Humboldt,” Healy Senior Center board member and volunteer Suzan Gupton said.
It also is a space for rent for community events such as senior exercise classes and bingo. It is needed even more now that the Garberville Veterans Hall is closed and portions of the Community Presbyterian Church in Garberville were destroyed in a fire.
“We also provide a place where they can socialize and get information,” center board vice president Richard Thompson.
He said this is a slow time of year for community donations and that past grant funds are starting to run out.
“I would say probably two months,” said Jack Foster, the center’s board president, when asked how long the center could remain open on the available funds.
“If we do close, that will create a problem for groups that want to meet here,” he said.
Besides community donations, grants and rental fees, the center generates revenue though fundraisers, Thompson said. Sometimes people bequeath money to the center in their wills.
“Even when we rent the building out, it’s not much funding,” he said.
If no more funds are acquired, the center’s first option isn’t to shut down but to cut services or maybe staff.
“We do have contingency plans,” Foster said.
Those plans include serving fewer meals each week or cutting center staff from three to two, he said.
“We actually just got a sample of these prepackaged frozen meals and we’ll see if they’re worth using,” Foster said.
To address the funding shortage the yearly “giant yard sale” is organized on the weekend of Aug. 12 and 13. But to pull the yard sale off the center needs donated items, like furniture, to sell and volunteers to help staff it.
“Hopefully that will bring in at least a month, if we’re lucky two months’ funding,” Thompson said.
The center’s grant writer is also working to apply for grants, which account for about five percent for the center’s funding, he said.
“The problem is there would be a lag before we get that money,” Thompson.
To donate to the center or get more information visit healyseniorcenter.org.
Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.