Clear Spring seniors unhappy about decision to close nutrition site

January 10, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Clear Spring Senior Nutrition Site participants, from left, Mildred Ballard, Pat Cottrill, Kyd Snyder Elwood Faith and Doris Younker play cards with site manager Julie Monninger.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

CLEAR SPRING — The handful of senior citizens who were at the Clear Spring nutrition site on Monday said they were disappointed and shocked to hear that the Washington County Commission on Aging was planning to pull the plug on the operation later this month.

“I was disappointed,” said Doris Younker, 75, of Clear Spring. “I just learned about it today. We were working on a quilt. We had so many things planned to do.”

The Commission on Aging told the five seniors who were at the Clear Spring senior nutrition site on Monday that the program will close Jan. 28.

The nutrition site not only provided seniors with a meal, but offered activities and health advice. The site was open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Susan MacDonald, executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging, said the decision to close the Clear Spring site and reduce the hours at sites in Smithsburg, Keedysville and Williamsport was made to divert more money to the county’s Meals on Wheels program. She said the decision also was made because seniors weren’t taking advantage of the nutrition sites, but at least 75 people were on a Meals on Wheels waiting list, she said.

“I’m not happy with it,” 66-year-old Pat Cottrill said of the decision to close the Clear Spring site. “It’s not the meals. I’m not happy with not being able to socialize and play our canasta ... Even if they don’t do meals, let us meet here.”

The Clear Spring site was open for a little more than a year before officials decided to shut it down.

Mildred Ballard, 86, said she was just starting to get settled in when she learned the site would close.

“It was very disappointing,” she said. “I had hopes for this. I thought we were going to be able to grow.”

Ballard and some of the other seniors said they believed the site’s manager, Julie Monninger, was doing a fine job running the operation by scheduling exercise, massages, card games, tea parties and other events.

“We tried a number of different avenues,” Monninger said, but only five seniors regularly showed up to participate.

While the senior women at the site said they would try to find a different place to play cards, Kid Snyder, 92, said he would have to find another place to “chase” women.

“They were already here,” he said. “It was just a bunch of fellowship with a lot of nice ladies. They treat you with such respect.”

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