ELIZABETHTOWN — Food nutrition sites around Bladen County are back to offering its lunch programs throughout the week, thanks to some financial juggling between block grants.
The fact that the nutrition sites, popular among the county’s elderly population, were forced to cut back to offering its lunch program only three days per week in June was brought to the attention of County Commissioner Ray Britt. On Monday, June 5, he brought it up during the regular board meeting.
“That’s a phone call I shouldn’t have to get,” Britt said. “It’s embarrassing for the county and rally should never have happened.”
But according to County Manager Greg Martin, it’s happened in the past because the money — which comes from the Home & Community Care Block Grant through the Lumber River Council of Governments — is always a set amount that has to be managed throughout the year.
“At times, there has to be an adjustment at the end of the fiscal year to use what is left,” Martin said.
The commissioners asked Martin to look into the situation and he was able to help see that money was transferred from another block grant into the nutrition site budgets for June.
“The five-day meals have been restored,” Martin said. “We’re happy it’s been fully restored; it’s not just the meals, but the program offers a social aspect that is important to those who use the program.”
Martin said the county would like to see the numbers increase for the program — at some sites even doubling the 10 or 12 currently using the program.
He added that the funding for the 2017-18 fiscal year have already been adjusted so there will be no shortage next June.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.