Orcas Senior Center

Spring 2020 GiveOrcas Submission

Orcas Senior Center Non-Profit, Spring 2020

Program Description

The Non-profit Orcas Senior Center (OSC) is asking for this grant to insure continuation of the vital meals and transportation programs for seniors and disabled Orcas islanders. The Non-profit OSC is solely funded by donations; donations which underwrite preparation and delivery of meals, as well as transportation for medical appointments for seniors and disabled persons. Even in the best of times, the meal delivery service is often the one factor that separates someone from both hunger and social isolation. This year, as individuals self-isolate or are quarantined due to COVID-19, we expect this need and therefore our expenses to increase substantially. Not only will isolation expand the need for the delivery of meals and other essentials, but closure of the center will further expand the need as people will not be able to come in for meals. This grant will allow us to meet this unprecedented challenge; without it, we fear that we may be forced to suspend parts of the program.

Need/Problem Statement

The Center provided more than 11,000 meals in 2019, including meals at the center and home delivery. The Non-profit OSC works in partnership with San Juan County and others to fund the meals, however funding from partners is fixed at the beginning of each year, regardless of actual costs. In 2019, the annual combined cost of meal preparation, home delivery and transportation was more than $98,000, of which the Non-profit OSC was responsible for almost $26,000. As demand increases, so will expenses. We are also concerned that the community funding sources on which we rely will be impacted by the economic fallout of measures taken in response to COVID-19. Market fluctuations, economic recession and general uncertainty are expected to have a negative impact on donations. In short, with almost half of our island population in our service group, and facing a potential loss of donations during a time of economic uncertainty, we could potentially be leaving a significant number of islanders without adequate, balanced nutrition or without transportation to medical appointments.

Project Outcomes

The meals and transportation programs are both ongoing programs. Even without the coronavirus, demand is increasing and public funding sources are not. As the need increases further, pressure on donated funds will stretch to the point that the some portions of the program may need to be suspended; it is even possible that the Center may be forced to reduce the number of meals served per week from three to two. This grant is vital to keep the entire program functioning.  

The grant will allow for the following: 

–     Meet the additional funding shortfalls anticipated with the increased need due to COVID-19;

–     Expanding home deliveries of food and other necessities as individuals self-isolate or are quarantined due to COVID-19; and

–     Help meet funding shortfalls for both programs in 2020, which will in turn allow the programs to continue to meet the needs in 2021.


The Non-profit OSC—which is an independent, donation-based organization—is legally bound to make up short falls in funding for all aspects of the meals and transportation programs. This includes expenses for food, food preparation, and home meal delivery. In addition, the Non-profit OSC pays all transportation expenses, fully funding the entire cost of operation and maintenance of the vehicles. This, plus the increase in demand, has led us to ask for assistance at this critical time.

Our first priority will be expanding home deliveries of food and other necessities during the COVID-19 response period. Since it is impossible to predict the length of time or the depth of the need on Orcas Island, we cannot predict how much of the grant would be spent on this, let alone if it will be adequate. Any funds remaining after the COVID-19 danger has passed will be applied toward the ongoing funding shortfalls, allowing us to continue to support these two important programs in 2021.

Project Approval

The Orcas District Committee (the governing “board” of the Orcas Senior Center) has approved this program. Lynnette Wood, Committee Chair, admin@orcasseniors.org.