Bea’s Kitchen plans include raising price, for now

Back in 2008, the Williams Foundation requested that Milam County take over the oversight of Bea’s Kitchen after having established and funded that operation for a number of years.

As a part of that arrangement, the Foundation agreed to continue to provide funding assistance for its operation through 2012 at the rate of $150,000 per year. There were no assurances of continued support beyond this year.

As a result Milam County senior citizens from Cameron and surrounding area have continued to enjoy socializing together every day around noon over a nice meal.

In 2010 participants were asked to contribute $2 per meal to help offset expenses, and that added an additional $34,000 that year, $37,500 in 2011, and a projected $46,000 this year.

Also operations were cut to 4 days per week to reduce costs.

In 2011 costs to operate the facility totaled right at $195,000 broken down as follows: $95,000-salary and fringes for six part time workers; $48,000-food supplies and related; $4,500- other supplies; $17,500-utilities; $17,500-adm. costs (HCCAA); $12,500 maintenance and other (all numbers are rounded to nearest $500).

This year’s costs are projected to run about the same. Hill Country Community Action Association (HCAA) has been contracted to administer day-to-day operations of the center for the county for a fee of 10 percent of costs.

They also operate the Senior Citizens Center in Rockdale.

Plans are being made for Bea’s Kitchen to continue to operate in 2013.

I have submitted a grant application to the Lester and Beatrice William’s Foundation requesting $80,000 support for Bea’s Kitchen for 2013.

Bill Elliott, the director of the Foundation, visited with me recently and indicated that the Foundation would provide that level of support for the coming year.

In order to continue operation at the current level of four days per week, I have proposed to the participants that we raise the contribution level per meal to $3 which, at the current level of approximately 20,000 meals per year, will bring in an additional $20,000, and that we launch a fund raising drive to raise an additional $50,000 through other grants and donations.

I believe this is easily achievable based on the popularity of Bea’s Kitchen in our community.

If we are able to raise more than that, then we could keep the contribution level for meals at $2. If we don’t achieve the $50,000, we can consider other cost reduction measures such as reducing the number of days of operation.

At any rate, we definitely plan to keep Bea’s Kitchen operating long term, so I encourage all interested parties to pitch in and help us find the necessary new sources of support.

Hats off to the Williams Foundation for launching Bea’s Kitchen, for all their fine support through the years, and for the continued support in 2013.

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2012-10-18 digital edition

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