Dorchester weighs additional funding for senior programs

The Dorchester County Council has reallocated $20,000 to the senior programs facilitated by Delmarva Community Services, after hearing a plea from the programs’ director, Santo Grande.

CAMBRIDGE — The Dorchester County Council, Tuesday, July 2, agreed to shift its budget to include $20,000 for community senior programs that received state funding cuts earlier this year.

The senior programs, run by Delmarva Community Services Inc., provide aging citizens of 60 years or older with resources such as home-delivered meals, wellness information and transportation.

The Maryland Department of Aging announced this spring it would be stripping funds from senior programs in rural areas. The department planned to put the money toward similar programs in urban communities instead.

Delmarva Community Services Director Santo Grande looked to Dorchester County to fill the monetary void left by the state cuts.

The county council answered his request, finding $20,000 in its already approved budget to put toward the senior programs.

During a meeting, Tuesday, June 18, Councilman William Nichols called the state funding cuts a “bunch of junk” and vowed to revisit the county’s budget.

Nichols and the other council members delivered on their promise because “nobody wants to see seniors go hungry,” Nichols said.

Councilman Lenny Pfeffer then nodded to an event Delmarva Community Services hosted Sunday, June 30, to raise money for the programs.

“They put together a really great [event] on Sunday. I’m guessing it was about 100 people that attended,” Pfeffer said. “They raised $4,500 that day. Great job by them bringing that money together.”

Until now, the senior program has relied primarily on funding from federal and state grants, with some assistance from private donors.

This year, it will rely on the generosity of the Dorchester County Council and county residents to continue caring for the community’s elderly.

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