Meal Program for Seniors Shutting Down

The nutrition service has been a longtime fixture in San Diego

By Diana Guevara and Sarah Grieco
|  Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013  |  Updated 10:15 PM PDT
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The St. Jude's Shrine Senior Nutrition Program has been providing meals for the elderly for nearly 40 years, but is now coming to an end.

The St. Jude's Shrine Senior Nutrition Program has been providing meals for the elderly for nearly 40 years, but is now coming to an end.

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Church leaders at the St. Jude’s Shrine said they have run out of funding to keep their senior nutrition program going.

The meal service has been a longtime fixture in San Diego, giving elderly residents a place to turn to for a warm meal. For nearly 40 years the St. Jude’s Shrine Catholic Church has been providing meals for more than 100 seniors a day.

The program will end by June, ending meal services for dozens of people who rely on the program in the communities of Southcrest, Logan Heights and Sherman Heights.

The program asks for a $3 donation, but if a person cannot afford to make that donation, they are never turned away. The county subsidizes 75 percent of the program and the rest comes from the church, according to church staff.

Staff members say church leaders can no longer afford to pay their portion and now they want to use the space for other church activities.

But for the people who either work here or rely on this program for their own well-being, it's a great loss. 

“We have a lot of people that are seniors that don't have cooking facilities they don't have any transportation and a couple of them this is the place where they spend the whole day,” said Ernie Chavas who works at the program.

Many others are afraid they'll have nowhere to go for meals.

“I have hard time finding this place believe me…and now I don't know what I'll do,” said participant Gloria Conarroe.

Chavas also said once the service ends, he will no longer have a job.

Just last year the church closed their daycare center and a school because they ran out of funding.

A petition is being distributed to try and prevent the program from closing, but right now church leaders say they've made up their mind and the program is scheduled to end June 30.

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