The Ottumwa Courier

February 28, 2014

Another food program ends

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Two more food programs are closing in Wapello County.

The Ottumwa Salvation Army Corps Community Center will no longer provide "congregate and home delivered" meals. The delivered food was touted as being, at times, the only meal or human contact some elderly shut ins had all day. The other program, at the Salvation Army site itself, also provided opportunities for socializing and a meal.

The local Salvation Army leader, Captain Ruth Gibbons, said some people became aware of the impending shutdown, but not all of them were sharing information accurately. Both the home delivery program and meal service at the community center will stop at the end of May. That doesn't mean no one will take over the nonprofit effort.

Milestones, a local area on aging, contracts with an agency like the Salvation Army to run the food program. But with 2,500 to 4,000 meals every month, this was a job for an agency doing just that. The Army has so many different programs, the brass thought to focus on those rather than the huge contract with Milestone. Milestones could seek out a new operator.

At the national level, the Salvation Army issued a press release.

"Based on financial concerns resulting from a recent audit, the decision was announced on Feb. 26 that the Ottumwa Advisory Board meeting. To assure that home bound seniors continue to receive subsidized meals, The Salvation Army is working closely with community partners, churches and agencies in communities in and near Ottumwa. The Salvation Army's priority is to assist in a smooth transition so that seniors are not left without resources."

The Salvation Army plans to expand its existing social service programs and remains committed to serving the ever aging population.

— News reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark