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A Port Townsend couple has anonymously donated $305,000 over the next five years to increase the meals at the center at 620 Tyler St., said Geoff Crump, Olympic Community Action Programs executive director.
The donation will provide the bulk of the $455,000 needed for the meals, he said, with the remainder coming from client contributions.
Lunches currently are served Thursdays only at the Port Townsend Senior Center, which is on the second floor of the Tyler Street recreation center.
The weekly lunch is funded and staffed by volunteers with the Port Townsend Senior Association, Crump said.
“We'll be adding additional days to the existing service with a paid staff,” he said.
Some 20 to 25 people are served weekly now, said Robert Gray, Port Townsend Senior Association board member.
“The goal is to get up to 40,” he said.
Perhaps as early as mid-July, lunches will be expanded to three days weekly, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Gray said.
“The ultimate goal is to serve lunches five days a week — Monday through Friday — but we're going to start with three, to try to get up the numbers and see how it goes,” he added.
OlyCAP was asked by the anonymous donors to write a proposal to expand the meals, Crump said.
“They saw there was a need,” he said.
The proposal was submitted and accepted.
“They have already started to fund it,” Crump said.
“We're just thrilled about the opportunity.”
A chef will be hired for the expansion and will begin training the first week in July.
The rest of the paid staff are already on board at OlyCAP and help ensure meals are served in Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks and Chimacum — for suggested donations of $5 each — as well as home delivery service, Crump said.
“All of our resources will be used to support the expansion,” he said.
Expansion to five days a week will happen “as soon as we can show a consistent base of between 20 and 25 people a day,” Crump said.
“We hope to do that sooner rather than later,” he added.
Crump also praised Carla Caldwell, United Good Neighbors executive director, for her support in developing the project.
OlyCAP delivered more than 40,000 meals last year with support from the Olympic Area Agency on Aging and other partners, Crump said, “so we are thrilled to be able to increase that with this additional service in Port Townsend.”
As the program builds up to capacity, it has the potential to serve about 4,000 meals per year, Crump said.
Questions for the Port Townsend Senior Association can be directed to Gray at 360-643-3793.
Questions for OlyCAP can be directed to Crump at 360-385-2571.