DSS no longer in need of food funds

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beaufort County DSS will not need the $3,200 the county recently allotted it for local food programs.

According to DSS Assistant Director Geoff Marett, the budget shortfall that would have forced DSS to cut back its congregate nutrition and home-delivered meal programs a reprieve until the next fiscal year. In November, 3.1-percent budget cut and rising food costs prompted DSS to ask Beaufort County commissioners to step in to make up the difference. Even then, the agency had already made plans to cut back on congregate nutrition lunches served five days a week to three days a week and whittled down a list of 60 recipients of home-delivered meals to 35.

At the time, commissioners approved the money to support the meals delivered to the homebound, but told Marett they needed more information about the $7,600 requested for the congregate nutrition program.

At the December meeting, however, Marett informed commissioners that the provider of the meals, Vidant Beaufort Hospital, had opted not to raise its meal prices just yet.

“We were informed by Vidant Beaufort Hospital that the price would not change through the end of the fiscal year,” Marett said, adding that DSS would be able to continue operating its congregate nutrition site five days a week.

The recipients of the DSS-provided meals are chosen on a need basis and must fit certain criteria, Marett said. In reevaluating recipients of home-delivered meals, DSS staff found that out of 60 recipients, 25 had other meal options, which included home-health aids who could cook for their clients. On average, the congregate meal site, located within East Havens Apartments on East Third Street in Washington, serves 35 meals a day to the elderly and those who live on a fixed income.

Marett said, next fiscal year, DSS does project a deficit for the programs.