Agency says no senior centers will close

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Good news for Region 8 seniors. The East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging received their funding report for this year and no centers will have to close their doors.

The agency relies heavily on both state and federal funds, and although federal funds increased this year, state funds were cut.

"I don't think that it will affect any of our centers this year closing. We will have to watch our budget a whole lot closer," said Melissa Prater, director of purchasing services at East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging.

And although the agency had a drop in state funds, Prater said they will make do.

"Overall statewide, there was about a $300,000 decrease in cigarette tax funds which affects home delivery meals and transportation," Prater said.

They also had an additional cut of $145,000 dollars.

"It will decrease the amount of people probably that we're able to serve more so than this year," she said.

Dorothy Chatters has been a member of the St. Bernards Senior Life Center for five years,  something she looks forward to every day.

"Five years ago I moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I was invited by one of my friends and that introduction of the center has brought a lot of joy," she said. "Being a member here gives me a day to day schedule, I have something to do to get out of the house instead of just being bored at home.

Chatters said they have been raising money to help the center stay up and running.

"We do put on different fundraisers and work with our directors and work with our activities director to raise the money to help along with the food programs and the activities," Chatters said.

Services that Prater said they will continue to provide to local seniors.

"A lot of times you have seniors who are widowed, they need that socialization with other people, getting involved in activities," she said.

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