As the members of the Harvard Community Senior Center’s Volunteer Board of Directors, we want the community to know that we take our commitment to providing services for ALL area seniors seriously. We recognize that there is a great deal of information being shared publicly, and that much of it is not accurate, so we hope this statement will clarify our actions.
As Mayor Kelly said publicly at the Senior Center’s annual membership meeting last month, and again in his written statement last week, the decision to discontinue bingo programming in order to focus our scarce resources on services and more active health and wellness programs was not made lightly, nor was it made punitively to “push out the seniors” who play Bingo. All our deliberation, and the ultimate decision, was based on our charge to offer services and programs proven to meet the first objective of the county’s senior services plan: “To provide supportive social services designed to prevent the unnecessary institutionalization of elderly residents.” (Transportation and vehicles for seniors, equipment for operating a senior center, and again, the social services that help seniors remain non institutionalized are also included in the plan). As was reported, funding that pays just for the on-site, direct-service staff, comes from an annual grant application to that county senior service grant fund. Since 2017, that grant has not paid for any other operational, managerial, or general costs.
The Senior Center, with the support and encouragement of the City of Harvard, became an independent, nonprofit organization in 2014 in order to secure donations, grants, sponsorships, and fundraising event proceeds. We know that there are up to 2,000 area seniors we can, and should, serve and we are thankful for the city’s leaders, individuals, businesses, staff and community members, and all the participants who have stepped forward to help for the last five years with their time, talent or treasure.
If you have additional questions or would like to help support the Harvard Community Senior Center, please contact us at 815-943-2740.