Sage Nutrition Finances Improve for November/December

Prowers County Courthouse

An update on Sage Nutrition finances during the Lower Arkansas Valley Area Agency on Aging meeting last week showed the financially struggling food provider service had a net gain for November and December.  Prowers County Commissioner Gene Millbrand reported that in addition to a $33,000 federal grant, Sage came out ahead $8,000 for the final two months of 2011. 

Sage nutrition provides meals for elderly residents in the six southeastern Colorado counties.  For the past several years, the meal provider service has been operating in the red and enacted some recent measures, such as cutting back on hot meals every weekday, to keep costs low.  Millbrand said one reason for the turnaround and increased numbers of paying diners, was the new dietician had completed her analysis of the federal nutrition guidelines and was able to bring back some menu favorites while still maintaining a mandated balance of fat, sugar and protein content.  “People were happy to see that we could put barbecued chicken and smothered burritos back on the menu,” he said.  Those dishes were coupled with specific vegetables which balanced out the federal guidelines.  Millbrand said some people were still unhappy that they were not able to take-out a meal, but that federal guideline is still on the books. 

The cost of meals and the payments made by diners has been the Sage program’s chief economic problem.   It’s suggested that diners do pay something for the meals, but diners cannot be charged for what they eat.  If they want to contribute a dollar, they can, or they can pay the going cost of a meal, which averages just over $5, but few do.  Some board members suggested a review of the economic cutback measures, but the majority cautioned a slower approach, waiting until the June financials are in to see if any changes to the ratio of hot meals to pre-frozen and delivered meals would make a difference. 

Commissioner Joe Marble said a local Lamar church is helping with deliveries and cutting the overhead cost.  They’re delivering meals for one week out of each month for the year and the Baca County version of PATS is also delivering an extra day in their weekly schedule with no charge to their clientele.  

By Russ Baldwin

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Filed Under: BusinessCommissionersCountyEconomyHealth


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