(Cameron,MO) After 40 years of feeding senior citizens, the Stella Grinstead Center (also called the Cameron Nutrition Center) will soon be closing its doors.
The center provides reduced price meals to elderly seniors at the main center at 315 E 3rd St and until recently delivered meals to seniors that were unable to travel to the center through the Cameron Meals on Wheels program.
John Brooks,Vice Presidents of the Stella Grinstead Center Board said on an average day the center provides meals for about 30 seniors, a services the center might not be able to cover in the near future.
"As far as serving meals and being here everyday, it looks like we're done," Brooks said.
In fall 2017 the center lost $83,000 in funding after their annual bid was rejected by the Northwest Missouri Center for Aging. Brooks said with no additional funding support from the community, the center has reached the end of its savings.
The Cameron Meals on Wheels program was ended on April 27, due to the lack of funding.All deliveries in the area were differed to the Meals on Wheels programs in Plattsburg and Masville.
"If the community doesn't want it, there's not much we can do without the help of the government," Brooks said.
The meal services began in 1973, when Stella Grinstead started delivering meals to elderly people in the community. Since then the program has grown to providing seniors and shut-ins with reduced price meals.
"Some of the people who go by were supposed to give us $4 for their meal and they weren't giving us $4, which was ok, because Stella would say 'Mr.Brooks, that's what we do around here.'Stella taught me a bunch about empathy and people and being helpers," Brooks said.
For employees like Helen Creevey, who has been working as a cook at the center for nearly eight years., the center provides much more than just a hot meal.
"It's a place where if an elderly doesn't have air conditioning or they don't have heat, they could come in here and stay and sit until something is available for them," Creevey said.
Without additional funding from the city of Cameron or Clinton County, seniors are very likely to lose services like reduced price meals, fitness classes, and recreational space. A hard hit for seniors in the community, but for Brooks it feels like a personal loss.
"It's a family here and it got broken up,” Brooks said. “I feel like I let Stella down."
If donors do not come forward soon, the center will be forced to close its doors at the end of May. Brooks said the center will continue to honor all hall rental agreements through September, but will not be able to continue offering meals or additional services.
“I’m sad that it’s closing, because there are so many elderly that we take care of and they rely on this place. These people rely on it everyday, so it’s really going to be rough on them,” Creevey said.
Brooks said the board is planning to have a senior citizen tax levy placed on the Clinton County ballot this August to help support the center’s meal programs. If the tax levy passes it would take at least a year before the center could be back serving meals to the community.
For more information or to make a donation to the center contact John Brooks at (816) 632-6112.
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