We can spare 10 grand for seniors

Oak Harbor Senior Center is one the verge of losing its senior meals program for lack of a paltry $10,000.

In an age when even local governments consider 10 grand pin money, this is a ridiculous situation.

Senior Services of Island County put the meals program on the chopping block because federal grants have remained flat in recent years, while costs and demand for services have increased. Something had to give, and it was the entire meals program in Oak Harbor, as well as cutbacks elsewhere in the county.

As is often the case, when the federal government cuts back it’s up to the locals to maintain needed services. One can be cold hearted about the situation and say most of the seniors who show up for the discounted meals are well fed anyway and could eat a 99-cent Whopper instead, but the meals program is more than just food. The meals are well balanced, served by a friendly staff and provide positive social interaction for participants. For lonely people, it gives them somewhere to go and something to look forward to three days a week.

Island County and the city of Oak Harbor should step in to maintain the senior meals program at its current level countywide. Seniors have spent a lifetime paying taxes and ask little in return.

If there’s truly not enough public money available to spare $10,000 for senior meals, the county commissioners and Oak Harbor city council members should get some sponges and buckets and wash cars a weekend or two each month. That’s how everyone else raises money, and it’s for a good cause.

Flu shots go to most needy

People in Island County like all others in the U.S. should be willing to sacrifice their flu shots this year for the sake of others who need it more.

It’s scandalous that the nation lost half its flu vaccine supply due to manufacturing problems in England, but such is the case. The trickle down effect has hit us quickly: The Island County Health Department, local medical clinics, and retail outlets that normally provide flu shots are saying none are available this year.

That doesn’t mean there is no vaccine on hand, however. A second manufacture supplies some local pharmacies, and government agencies are working to make sure that available supplies go to the people who need it most.

So if you’re a healthy adult younger than age 65, skip your flu shot this year so that others with chronic illnesses and other high risk conditions may receive theirs.

Meanwhile, check on how much sick leave you have, stock up on chicken soup and over-the-counter palliatives, and make sure the family thermometer is in working order. It could be a long winter.

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