The Senior Center Begs     
    For Community Support     

Newberry Springs Senior Center Sign
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 any better.

      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.