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Approval of town budgets is now complete. We are painfully aware of the competing priorities towns must consider during budget construction. However, funding for certain services such as ensuring the elderly receive nutritious meals should not be cut.
Connecticut has nine elderly nutrition providers. The Estuary Council is one of them. We are the sole provider of homebound Meals on Wheels in our nine-town region: Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. We service seniors in need regardless of ability to pay and deliver hot meals five days per week. We ensure our seniors will never suffer from food insecurity.
This vital service costs money. On average, government grants cover 53 percent while recipient donations cover another 17 percent. The Estuary Council must therefore rely on the nine towns served for help.
Every year we make a presentation in each town to support our financial request. Eight of the towns consistently support our program by paying their proportional share.
Westbrook receives the second-highest number of Meals on Wheels deliveries of the towns serviced—just shy of 11,000 meals in Fiscal Year 2017-’18. Of note, this service is not also provided by the Westbrook Senior Center.
Sadly, support from the Town of Westbrook has been dwindling since 2015 and now stands at half of its proportional share. Despite Westbrook’s diminished support, the Estuary Council will continue its homebound service and will remain committed to assuring Westbrook seniors they will not suffer.
Our sincerest hope is that those in charge in Westbrook will find their way to work with us and ultimately show stronger support for their own elderly residents during the budget process next year.
Stan Mingione, Executive Director
Estuary Council of Seniors
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