KIMBERLY — Ageless Senior Citizens, a senior center in Kimberly, received nearly $8,000 from the state this week.
Without it, “I’m not sure we would have been able to stay open,” secretary-treasurer Cheryl Arledge said.
A new state program for small businesses offers grants up to $10,000 for equipment, inventory, personal protective equipment, rent and utilities. Idaho has now sent out about $24 million to more than 2,000 businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Transparent Idaho.
Arledge said the cost of operating the senior center’s meal program has gone up significantly due to the pandemic, but it needs to stay open as an essential service.
“We all … feel it is very important to feed these seniors,” Arledge said. “When a senior is afraid to go into a grocery store to shop, we need to be able to feed them.”
The meal program has expanded from two to three days a week since the shutdown. And even though the dining room is now closed, the number of meals served each week has jumped from about 30 to more than 150.
“We never had those kinds of numbers in the dining room,” Arledge said.