July 12, 2024

Jasper County pays more rent at Colfax congregate meals site

Payment is now the same as rent for The Gathering Place in Monroe

Jasper County last week renewed its contracts with elderly nutrition’s congregate meals sites in Colfax and Monroe, which will now both be paid the same amount of rent after The Gathering Place requested an increase a number of months ago. The rent for both facilities is now $400 per month.

Kelli Van Manen, program director of Jasper County Elderly Nutrition, said the contract for the Colfax Community Senior Citizens Center was submitted to the supervisors for the original rate of $200 per month. But she said Colfax has expressed a desire to increase the rent, noting expenses have gone up.

“We are currently paying $400 for The Gathering Place,” she said. “Colfax doesn’t have quite as many people attending as The Gathering Place, but they are our backup kitchen and they are currently providing $450 in volunteers per month, helping to deliver meals to help cut expenses.”

Van Manen, who has worked elderly nutrition for the past 14 years, told the board of supervisors her budget can afford to pay Colfax $400 per month, especially considering the facility has been paying the $200 rate for many, many years. She recommended the board agree to a rent increase.

Supervisors agreed to pay more rent. Denny Stevenson went so far as to say an increase was probably past due.According to the agreement with Colfax Community Senior Citizens Center, the space can serve an average of 50 to 100 persons at about noon each day, five days per week. The Gathering Place has enough space to serve an average of 20 persons a day, according to the contract.

Several months back it was decided The Gathering Place would be the host for the congregate meals site in Monroe, but it was to also serve as a trial period. If elderly nutrition did not see the numbers, it would drop its contract and move on. However, Van Manen said the site has been going well and attendance is good.

“We’re averaging 11 a day,” she said. “I was hoping 12 to 15. With summer months the folks that come to congregate sites are more mobile and involved in other community events. But it’s gone well and they have lots of things going well there. We have been able to coordinate on some of those things with them.”

In contrast to the Colfax site, volunteers primarily help at The Gathering Place itself, which lets elderly nutrition staff focus its efforts on deliveries.The Jasper County Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to approve both contracts.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.