The Senior Center Begs
For Community Support
Will Santa Claus bring the senior center new sign lettering... or coal?
Management mails solicitation throughout the community.
Money appeal allegedly contains false information.
December 8, 2012
The Newberry Springs Senior Services Association, following the Newberry
CSD board's continuance of the association's October 2012 request for $30,000 in bail out
funds... and following a November CSD board's continuance after the association presented
an inadequate business plan (with a revised 12-month bail out for $24,000)... has taken
action to do a community-wide appeal in the association's desperation for funding.
The community appeal
(PDF 823KB) is in the form of a solicitation reportedly mailed out to every
mailing address in Newberry Springs, including all Post Office boxes. This should place the
number of mailing pieces at just over 1,000. The individual mailings consisted of two
single pages and the convenience of a self-address return envelope.
Opponents to the Kiewit Pacific funds being used for the bail out
believe that the mailing will be an excellent gauge to judge the community's interest and
support of the senior association's proposed operation. If the community is not
interested in sustaining the non-transparent and non-profit organization through this fundraiser,
then why should the CSD? The senior association has refused to publicly open its financial
records to show where past subsidies have gone.
To date the senior association has received a reported $33,000
in CSD controlled funding and no financial reconciliation of the funds has ever been
publicly provided by the association to show if the funds were used to benefit the community.
Troubling to some is the fact that the senior association has
misled the Newberry Springs community with misinformation in the recently mailed solicitation.
The solicitation's first paragraph states that the association
"has the distinction of being the only Senior Center in all of San Bernardino County to
be self sufficient..." This ignores the reported $33,000 from the CSD in recent years.
The falsehood continues that "If County Funds are accepted, then
the County tells us what we may or may not do with OUR Center." This is also false and
misleading; however, the falsehood may not be intentional as the seniors' management may not know
The County of San Bernardino does NOT operate senior centers.
The county doesn't have a department to do such. There is no direct funding.
Senior centers within the county (like the one in Barstow and Hinkley)
are non-profits. Many, if not all, are supported in part by the United Way.
The support that the Newberry Springs' senior association receives from the United Way is
not publicly known because the association hides its financials; but Hinkley currently
receives $2,000 per quarter ($8,000 per year). This is based upon the number of seniors
assisted by a center. (Hinkley's number is low and has been seriously declining because
of PG&E property buyouts.)
The only financial assistance that these senior centers receive
through the county is for food service that is provided through a federally funded program.
Meals are prepared and packaged offsite and are delivered to the participating community centers.
All the senior centers within the county participate in this program except for Newberry Springs
whose obstinate management prefers to operate a café at a loss.
The county's senior food nutrition program is a good deal for seniors
because they can come to the center and eat the meals for free if they are 60 years of age or
over. If under 60, a donation is requested. In Hinkley for instance, a donation
of $4.50 per meal is suggested from those under 60. Free daily food at the Newberry Springs
senior center might draw more seniors.
To participate in the food program, the program does have
some simple requirements; such as participating centers must report any instances of suspected
adult or child abuse. The food requirements do NOT place any county controls over what other
activities can or cannot be done at a center. Barstow participates in the county's food
program and does operate a kitchen for many other fundraising events.
Denying reality, the Newberry Springs senior association's management has
been insistent upon operating a restaurant that offers food priced below operating costs.
Perhaps this underpricing is necessary to acquire customers; but if it is, it's time to close
the café. It is bad business management to allow a single service to jeopardize
an entire operation. Sometimes though, business sense is trumped by ego.
One e-mail sent to the Community Alliance believes that the problem lies in
the menu; and that the café's situation can be shaped-up by a visit from Chef Gordon Ramsay.
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