Senior Center receives funds to expand staff, services

Published 12:10 am Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Senior Center of South Pearl River County received a ceremonial check today for more than $120,000 to increase its services for the next year.

The real checks come from two sources – The Hurricane Fund for the Elderly awarded the center a grant for $52,756 and the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation donated another $51,000.

“It means that we can enlarge our staff so that we can offer more activities and serve more people,” said Olga Everett, president of the Senior Center’s board of directors.

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The grant monies will be combined with $25,500 from other sources for a total project fund of $128,264.

The center had been an integral part of Pearl River County for 10 years when Hurricane Katrina destroyed many of the area’s services for senior citizens. Since then, grants have funded an expansion of the center at 45 El Patch Parkway in Picayune and the staff is working to make the center a “one stop shop” for senior citizens in the community.

The grant received today will fund the salary for an executive director, provide money for other additions to the staff and help with the expenses incurred in applying for certification through the National Institute of Senior Center Accreditation.

“We can enrich the lives of our seniors,” said Kathleen Penton, a member of the center’s board.

Although the center is officially the Senior Center of South Pearl River County, residents of the entire county are welcome, said Ted J. Alexander, chief executive officer of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation and a member of the Hurricane Fund for the Elderly board.

The Hurricane Fund for the Elderly is administrated by Grantmakers in Aging.