Local Senior Centers Struggle To Raise Funds For Necessary Programs

Vincenzo Marino

As the holidays quickly approach, local senior centers are struggling to provide much needed food and other items to help their less fortunate members.

With so many non-profit organizations in the Coachella Valley, it’s difficult for all them to get what they need and seniors often get the short end of the stick.

For those looking to help provide the bare necessities to seniors on a fixed income it can feel like swimming against the current. That’s the case for a local missionary who tries to help her elderly and immobile neighbors.

“I ran into one of my neighbors the other day, she is 84 years old, her check is $500 dollars [per month], her rent is $175,  she doesn’t have money for groceries, she doesn’t have a car, she can’t get out, the family doesn’t come to visit her. She is so stuck,” said Joan S.

“Here in the valley it’s becoming really an acute issue. That’s why we’re doing this tree, to help raise funds to provide the necessities to the seniors that rely on us,” said Jack Newby, executive director for Joslyn Center in Palm Desert.

Newby says raising funds for senior programs is becoming increasingly difficult.

“It’s easier to raise money for cats and dogs than it is to raise money for seniors,” said Newby.

As a consequence, Joslyn Center was forced to disappoint seniors who were told they could exchange a voucher for a free chicken ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Unfortunately, when it came time to receive the chicken Newby was told by FIND Food Bank that no chicken would be delivered after all.

“It’s painful when we aren’t able to provide the services that we want to provide for the seniors most in need that are the ones that come to Penny’s Pantry,” Newby said.

In order for FIND Food Bank to provide Joslyn Center with chicken, it needed to order 1000 or more to get the chicken at wholesale cost. Unfortunately FIND did not meet that quota. That’s not the only problem senior centers around the Coachella Valley are having.

“Major donors, contributors to our food programs, have backed off this year,” said Newby.

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