Without United Way’s help, Senior Center could not provide as many services

Published 11:59 am Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NW0120 UW Senior Center D

Every day, hundreds of senior adults make their way to the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center for meals, activities or to spend time with friends.
To provide all the services it does to the community, the Senior Citizens Center relies on funding from the Elizabethton/Carter County United Way.
The center receives 20 percent of its funding from the United Way, Senior Center Director Kathy Dula said. It also receives funding from the City of Elizabethton, the Carter County government and the Area Agency on Aging and Disability. The center covers 15 percent of their budget through fundraising.
“If we did not receive the funding from the United Way, we couldn’t operate like we do,” Dula said. “If we had to fundraise another 20 percent, we could not do it. It would be impossible.”
Dula said the senior center always “scrapes by” from year to year with its budget accounted for down “to the penny.” She said the designation from the United Way is used to pay the center’s utilities throughout the year.
“Utilities are always going up,” Dula said. “They keep getting higher and the money from the United Way covers that. We count on that funding for our utilities. We couldn’t be open like we are and provide the services we do without it.”
Dula continued that if the funding from the United Way was reduced or lost, then the agency would have to limit hours, days opened or change the services provided to seniors in the county.
“The United Way is vital to us,” she said. “Without it we couldn’t provide the quality of services that we do.”
The Elizabethton Senior Center provides a wide range of services for its members. It hosts educational sessions on health issues and other important topics for senior citizens, such as Medicare and insurance changes, legal aid and nutrition.
The center hosts recreational programs, including exercise classes, line dancing and bingo along with having a well-equipped fitness center on site.
The center regularly hosts meals, devotions, art classes and other projects on a regular schedule that members enjoy. The center also provides transportation to and from the center and on shopping trips through the region.
Membership to the senior center is $10 a year for those age 60 and up, and $20 a year for people age 55-59.
“At that price, it doesn’t exclude anyone,” Dula said.
For more information on the senior center, call 543-4362. For more information on the United Way or to make a contribution, call 543-6975.

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