Gold Country Community Services and supporters highlight needs for seniors in Nevada County

NEVADA CITY, Calif. November 13, 2019 – Gold Country Community Services (GCCS) presented a report on Food Insecurity within Nevada County to the Nevada County BOS yesterday. Besides the report, the organization had several requests for the supervisors: Make senior services a priority, help the non-profit secure a community center and increase support for services.

Janeth Marroletti, Executive Director of GCCS, stated Nevada County ranks 4th for the largest senior population per capita in California, with a 2.1% increase in 2018. “Food insecurity among seniors continues to increase across local communities in the USA,” Marroletti said.

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According to Census data, the percentage of persons age 65 and over in Nevada County is 27.5%, the statewide percentage being 14.3%. Counties with a higher percentage of senior population are Sierra County (31.6%), Plumas County (28.4%) and Mariposa County (27.9%) [source: U.S. Census date quickfacts]

Food insecurity among seniors in Nevada County

The Meals on Wheels program provided 45,600 meals in 2018. Marroletti stated the volunteers often are the sole contact with the outside world for the seniors they serve. Her presentation included a waiting list by area:

  • Grass Valley
  • Lake of the Pines
  • Penn Valley/Lake Wildwood
  • Rough & Ready
  • Nevada City
  • North San Juan

Seniors in gated communities/mobile home parks are mostly on fixed incomes, with HOA/rental fees increasing annually, Marroletti explained in a conversation with YubaNet.

GCCS Ask

Marroletti made a passionate appeal to the BOS to increase support to GCCS and collaborate with them to reach their stated goals.

Prioritize Seniors in Nevada County to:

  • Increase food resources
  • Establish a Senior Center
  • Include homebound seniors in emergency plans
  • Enhance collaboration for services
  • Evaluate options for transportation
  • Support workforce development

Audience support

The Board Chambers was filled with individuals and representatives from senior organizations supportive of GCCS goals.

“Commit to making this a priority, pass a resolution like the one you just gave to the Toy Run,” said Pinky Zalkin. Longtime senior advocate Barbara Larsen reminded the BOS of cuts to programs, like Area 4 Agency on Aging’s termination of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and the closure of the Caregiver Resource Center. GCCS Board Secretary Gabriel Lenhart agreed that Nevada County needs to take care of the homeless, but “if we don’t care of our seniors, we’ll wind up with more homeless.”

It should be noted that after the termination of RSVP, Nevada County entered into a contract with Connecting Point and in July of 2019 Volunteer Hub went live. Nonprofit, school, or government agencies can list their volunteer opportunities and interested residents can browse the lists and sign up to be involved.

Board reaction

Supervisor Dan Miller said he was impressed with the turnout for the report and said that those who show up see results. He referred to homeless advocates being frequent speakers during public comment at BOS meetings. His somewhat unfortunate turn of phrase was “they’re ankle biters.” Supervisor Heidi Hall encouraged the audience to show up at Area 4 Agency on Aging meetings, stating it was difficult for county representatives to secure appropriate funding. The next meeting of Area 4 is taking place on   – 

Background

The report was an informational item only with no detailed request for funding. The Board of Supervisors cannot take action on informational items only.

We requested the financial assistance provided by the county via grant funding to GCCS. The information has not been provided by Nevada County at publication time. According to the 2018 Form 990 filed by GCCS, the organization had $838,206 in total assets with $792,599 in net assets.

GCCS is a tax-exempt charity and donations are tax-deductible. You can become a member, donate or volunteer here.