Council on Aging says funding is an ongoing issue; hopes this year will be different

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) – Counties are starting to crunch the numbers for the budget season.  A lot of organizations in our area rely on county commissioners for funding. This time of year is always stressful for the Council on Aging.

The Pitt County Council on Aging is a safe haven for a lot of older adults in the area. The center’s director said when it’s time for elected leaders to figure out next year’s budget, the council always seems to be at the bottom of the totem pole.

Fay Lindqvist, who visits the council, said, “I realize that there’s a lot of people who need funding and need money, but please, give us some too.”

For Lindqvist and the rest of her friends, the Pitt County Council on Aging is more than just a place to socialize and hang out. It’s a means of staying healthy.

“When you sit in the house all day by yourself with nobody to talk to and just watch the T.V. that’s not a good life for anybody,” Lindqvist said.

Every day older adults in the area travel to the Council on Aging just so they don’t have to spend the day alone.

The center relies on funds from a number of organizations including county commissioners. Director Rich Zeck said it’s the same story every year.

“The need for funding continues to grow, but historically they’re very small incremental increases that don’t keep pace,” Rich Zeck said, adding that money for the council is usually at the bottom of everyone’s list and he hopes this year is different. He said people need to realize how important it is to care about the center and the people who use it. “Older adults are actually an investment in our economy because they are homeowners so they’re paying taxes; they’re buying goods and services.”

As for Lindqvist she just wants people to know how much this place means to her.

“The senior center is sometimes the last resort for some seniors, their last hope,” Lindqvist

Zeck said some of the center’s programs already have a waiting list and less money would mean he’d have to cut a service older adults in the area desperately need.

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