Carol Parker, 68, manager of the Franklin County Senior Citizen Center has been making meals and baking rolls and other pastries for 25 years.
A growing part of the Franklin County population is seniors. Parker also delivers meals to a growing number of shut-in senior citizens.
Parker said she cooks three meals a week for the public at the center. They only have about five people attend the lunches from outside, but she feeds the staff and drivers. In theory, the payments for these meals and services should help support the center. But that is not the case.
“We lose money on the Monday and Wednesday meals. On Friday, we have a much nicer meal,” she said. “We generally have more people come. We try to have meat and potatoes and gravy for that meal.”
Because more people attend on Friday, they earn a little more.
Parker is frustrated. Because of lack of funds, she is using outdated equipment trying to keep meals on tables and going out to seniors.
“Our best hope is to get another oven, a mixer and a new stove, all are on the fritz. We have two commercial ovens,” Parker said. “One needs constant attention and the other doesn’t work at all.”
She also has a commercial mixer she estimates is 30 years old and a stove that doesn’t work.
“Last month we sent out 1068 meals,” she said. “In December of 2011, we delivered 488 meals. We deliver 7 days a week.”
On Thursday, she was cooking 100 dozen rolls for different purposes. Some of the rolls she baked was for the local Elks Lodge. They are doing a fundraiser for a community member with health issues. The others are for different people.
Thanksgiving is a busy time of year for the senior center, they sell and deliver Thanksgiving boxes to Preston businesses. It is a big money maker for the struggling entity.
Generally, Thanksgiving meal boxes have slices of turkey with cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, a small fruit, vegetables and a drink. Also included is a slice of pumpkin pie with a dab of whipped cream.
“For Thanksgiving, we work early Tuesday morning, all night and go until 6 p.m. on Wednesday before we are done,” Parker said. “If we get one stove working we can deal with it; I’d like to get two ovens, it would make it easier.”
The Franklin County Senior Center bakes a lot of pies and rolls for the public during the holidays. With the ovens not working, it makes it hard to sell the product.
“The county gives us money once a month, the city gives us so much a year,” she said. “The county owns the building and pays the insurance on the buildings and our cars. We have five cars, but one is currently not working.”
The Southeast Idaho Council of Governments also kicks in 20 percent. That leaves the Senior Center, located at 64 W. 1st S. in Preston, to make up 60 percent of their budget.
They have raffles to make up the difference. This year they have a new treadmill and a quilt they hope to award on November 16, at their Thanksgiving Dinner. They will also try to sell crafts and have fundraising dinners to get the money they need to purchase their new equipment.