HAZARD — The Perry County senior center was awarded a grant this week to help with the largest expense they have throughout the year, and it will help recoup some slowdown in donations caused by the economy.
The senior center has become a regular winner of awards for being one of the best in the state and country. They offer a number of activities every day and go on regular day trips.
But employees at the center use its vehicles to drive seniors around the county to doctors’ appointments, or pick them up to bring them to the center and take them on trips. The vehicles go through more gas than any other resource, and it is the largest expense they have.
Last year, fuel costs accounted for $17,000 of the center’s total budget. This year they applied for a grant to help alleviate much of this cost.
The Steele-Reese Foundation gives money to organizations to promote education, health, social welfare, the humanities, and the environment, however, they require the money to be used for one very specific purpose, and for the senior center officials decided on gas.
According to Director Kim Boggs, this grant and funds gleaned from an upcoming charity event called Run for the Hills in Hazard will not only help out with being able to maintain the number of activities for the seniors, but maybe result in more throughout the year.
“Between this and the Run for the Hills, we are hoping to be able to add on the number of activities,” said Boggs.
Boggs said that she sees giving the seniors interesting activities to do on a regular basis as her responsibility. She doesn’t expect them to come to the center and just sit; she knows they come to the center for something new and exciting to do.
“You really have to have something exciting going on, because they are exciting people,” Boggs said. “People have the wrong perception of older people.”
She said it is the seniors’ zest for life that keeps her always pushing to do more at the center.
“I get tired and I have to remind myself that they got out of bed for this,” he added.
The grant, which will give them $15,000 with the option to apply for it again in the future, will help them continue to do more even in a down economy.
“Radio Day (the center’s annual fundraiser) this year was a little less than what it was,” Boggs explained. “So being a director I said, OK, we have to fill that gap.”
She began looking at ways to raise funds and came across this grant. Along with the grant, the senior center is also joining a number of other nonprofit organizations in the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky’s Run for the Hill Charity Challenge.
The senior center will be hosting a gospel concert in the park on September 8 to raise money for Run for the Hills. The concert will be $3 to get in, but only one dollar for seniors. They will be selling food, crafts and baked goods.
By fund raising and applying for grants, the senior center is capable of doing more than most other centers, though it does take a lot of money.
“We don’t just play cards, but if we do, cards are six bucks a pack,” said Boggs. “That is almost $100 a month on cards.”
The money that is donated or given in the form of grants to the center goes directly to the seniors since the salaries and operating costs of the center are paid by the county.