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Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 -- 11:10 AM

Officials with the Clark County Nutrition program are asking for a slightly larger donation from those receiving meals.

Mary Sladich is with the Department of Aging and Nutrition. She says the program is still very active, despite diminished funding. The program is open to those 60 or older and serves county residents either at home or in a group setting.

Last year, the county spent around $99,000 on the program, donations from participants totaled around $240,000 and state and federal grants also helped.

Nearly 40-percent of home-delivered meal recipients are 85 or older. Sladich believes the program helps keep people out of the nursing home.

"For us to deliver meals five days a week, it costs us less than $175 a month. If you're looking at assisted living, you're looking at $1,800 to $2,000 a month; if you're looking at a nursing home, you're looking at over $4,000 a month," Sladich says.

More than dollars and cents, Sladich believes the nutritional program helps its participants stay mentally and emotionally independent.

The program is free to its participants; however this year the suggested donation has increased from $2.75 a meal to $3.00.

"With the Older Americans Act, we provide the meals for a donation - we cannot set a charge," Sladich says, "Our break even point to be able to continue to serve all of our meal sites (would require) a donation of $3.00 a meal."

For more information on the program, you?re asked to contact the Clark County Office on Aging at 743-5144.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.