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Senior dining goes on despite fed cuts

December 31, 2013
Jenn Brookens , Fairmont Sentinel

SHERBURN - While there is no more official senior dining in Sherburn after today, there will still be a way for Sherburn's senior residents to get together for meals and visits.

"Through the Lutheran Social Services, the senior dining was cut during the sequester," said Lisa Lange, director of the Temperance Lake Ridge assisted living facility in Sherburn.

Federal sequestration is causing a loss of $268,000 in funding for a portion of the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota that covers 22 counties in southern Minnesota. The program provides funding for senior dining locations and home delivered meals. Sherburn and Fairmont were the only two communities in Martin County listed on the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota website as having a senior dining program.

The factors in determining which senior dining sites were closed nationwide included who and how many use the program on a regular basis, the number of low income users and the number of people at nutrition risk that use the program.

The senior dining program in Sherburn had been hosted by Temperance Lake Ridge for the past two and a half years. When news of the senior dining cut was heard, the facility and the seniors discussed what could be done.

As it turns out, the answer was fairly simple.

"We're letting them sign up for guest meals," Lange said. "On average, depending on if there's something special going on, we had about six to 15 people showing up for senior dining. We have 11 that indicated interest in purchasing guest meals."

When the meals were offered through Lutheran Social Services, seniors were able to give a free-will donation for the meal. But the guest passes will be $6 per meal.

"They would have to go all the way to Fairmont for senior dining, but now they can still get their meals here," Lange said.

Guest passes for meals are available Monday through Friday except for holidays. For more information, contact Temperance Lake Ridge at (507) 764-4977.



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