By Marie Meis
As you drive down main street Elgin, you might notice signs in front of the Elgin Community Center (ECC) saying things such as “Bake Sale!” or “Walking Tacos!” and while these are enjoyable events, they actually mean more than you think. These events are fundraisers for the community center and are vital to keeping it running.
The Elgin Community Center gets funds from multiple sources including NSIP (Nutrition Services Incentive Program), NEAAA (Northeast Nebraska Area Agency on Aging), SSBG (Social Services Block Grant) and Medwaiver. While this sounds very complicated, it can be broken down into federal funding and state funding.
The NEAAA is state funding that reimburses the center for each activity or meal by the number of people that participated. For example, for every person who eats a meal there, they are given $2.15 and for every meal delivered they receive $2.80. Some activities that the center receives funds for include nutrition education, outreach, health education, information and assistance, transportation and supportive services. The more participation for each one of these activities, the more funding they receive. While it may not seem like you’re helping by going to one or two events, every time you participate in one of these qualifying events, you help them raise much needed money. The NSIP, SSBG and Medwaiver are all federal funding programs and the community center gets reimbursed per meal through them.
The federal funding has been reduced this year. That means that the senior center is going to have to make up those funds in other ways.
Last year, Elgin was given the challenge of raising $15,000 through fundraisers. This year, because of less funding, they will have to make up to $28,000.
Currently, the Elgin center’s fundraisers include bake sales, pie and ice cream socials, walking tacos and “Raising Dough”.
Abby Evans, manager of the Elgin Community Center said “We will have to raise the number of fundraisers to meet the demands for funds.” The money raised from them goes towards purchasing food, entertainment for evening meals and updating equipment.
Donated foods are also welcome, as Evans said, “Donated foods directly help our center keep its raw-food costs low.”
Activities that the community center offers include an evening meal once a month with entertainment, exercise classes, cards, puzzles, bingo and a birthday meal once a month.
Vetch Days activities
The center also will get involved with Vetch Days, holding a number of activities on Friday, June 30 including walking tacos, root beer floats and more over the noon hour, Bingo at 1 pm and a pie and ice cream social at 2 pm.
Along with the fundraisers, in order to help the center stay afloat while their funding goes down, Evans reminds everyone, “Participation is donating!” Whether it’s attending a meal, participating in their number of activities, or purchasing something at a fundraiser, they could use your help.
Evans emphasized the role of the center in Elgin. “The Elgin Community Center strives to provide daily activities and nutritious meals.
A big part of being able to continue operation is participation, she said. “People are needing and wanting services within the community that give our elder generation a chance to continue independent living and keep an active social life. We want every community member involved.”
“We have a great time at ECC every day,” Evans reminds our readers. “Hanging out with friends or having them deliver a meal to you. We are always ready to make new friends and invite new people to come down and enjoy a meal to check us out or come to an exercise class. Coffee time is every day at 10 am if you just want to pop in.”
So throughout the summer, and especially during the upcoming Vetch Days celebration, remember to support our local community center!
By Marie Meis