[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
The Jewish Community of Louisville recently received a grant of $51,614 from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence for its Senior Adult Program. The grant provides $10,675 for kitchen equipment, $12,938 in matching funds that will be used to purchase a handicap-accessible van, and $28,001 to subsidize the congregate kosher meals program.
The kitchen equipment will include convection ovens and food warmers for the Jewish Community Center’s kosher kitchen. Senior Adult Director Diane Sadle said she is very grateful for this help. “Right now,” she said, “we’re struggling. We have one little warmer to keep the food warm for the entire senior nutrition program.”
The new equipment will enable the cook to produce more meals for both the congregate meals program and the home delivery Meals on Wheels. This is important as demand is increasing. It will also enable staff to keep food at the appropriate temperature until it can be served.
As people age, they often experience diminished ability to perform tasks that they accomplished with ease throughout their adult lives. For most, there comes a time when they can no longer drive. With the limited availability of public transportation in Louisville, losing the ability to drive can mean losing the ability to participate in many activities including programs at the JCC.
Earlier this year, the JCL received a grant from the Federal Department of Transportation’s New Freedom Funds of $51,752 toward the purchase of a new 22-foot van that is equipped with an automatic wheelchair lift and can accommodate two wheelchairs and 13 additional passengers. To obtain that funding, the JCL had to secure a 20 percent match of the funding. The JHFE grant provides that match.
The JCC currently has two vans, one handicap-accessible and one regular van, to bring 20 seniors to the Center several times each week to participate in programs. There is also a waiting list of 13 people who would use the service if it were available. The new van will enable the JCC to expand its service area and accommodate those on the waiting list.
The JCC runs the only kosher nutrition program in the state. To ensure that every senior can afford the meals, the JCC asks only for a donation from those who participate in the program. Most people pay just $2 per meal, and those who can’t afford even that modest amount eat for free.
Sadle says the actual cost of the meal is between $6.75 and $7, and the price of kosher food continues to rise. The grant from the JHFE will go to help cover the nutrition program’s deficit.
The JCL is grateful to JHFE’s Senior Services Endowment Committee for their generous grants and ongoing support.