Marion Select Board members give a helping hand to Coastline Elderly Services

May 16, 2023

MARION — Marion Select Board Members Randy Parker and Toby Burr threw their support behind Coastline Elderly Services for Older Americans Month, helping deliver meals to older adults in Marion.

Like Coastline’s regular drivers who deliver food to older adults, Burr and Parker greeted adults on their route and handed meals to recipients with a “hello” and conversation.

After being given her meal, Marion nonagenarian Marian Treichler, a retired teacher, chatted with Parker and Burr about the well-being of several town residents and the shops and businesses they operate.

Nonagenarian and Marion resident Gabe Ditata also used the delivery opportunity to discuss local issues with the two selectmen, including the motor vehicle traffic near his home.

Both enjoyed the visits and the chance to share and receive local news.

In the past decade, the number of meals Coastline serves has increased 56% even as food costs grew by 53%, according to Coastline Elderly Services. In contrast, federal funding decreased by two percent over the same 10-year period from 2013 to 2023.

According to Coastline, the group gave out 19,000 meals to older adults in the Tri-Town in 2022. In 2021, Coastline delivered 21,079 meals to Tri-Town residents, 8,849 of which lived in Marion. Mattapoisett residents received 4,618 meals and Rochester residents received 9,612 meals. 

Increases in state funding, while helpful, cover a smaller percentage of program costs and therefore do not make up the financial difference, said Coastline in a press release.

Despite the gap, Coastline has made the decision to seek alternative program funding, including fundraising, in order to meet the demand for every older adult who needs meals, said the organization. 

Meals are delivered free to recipients with a request for a $2 per meal donation. While some recipients can afford this donation, most cannot.

“Coastline remains committed to serving meals to those who need them, especially those who are unable to leave their home without difficulty,” said Justin Lees, Coastline Elderly Services CEO. “We continue to work with the South Coast legislative delegation and other opportunities to improve funding support for this important program.”