The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Friday that the Claremont Senior Center has been awarded a $2,000 grant to help the center continue offering essential meal services to vulnerable seniors. The grant was made possible by the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant program reauthorized by Congress and President Obama this winter in the Farm Bill. The grant program has brought Claremont and area non-profits providing essential community services more than $162,000 since 2008.
“Whether it is investing in the Claremont Senior Center so that seniors have a safe and caring gathering place or a new roof to protect the fire department, USDA is intertwined in Claremont’s community,” said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. “The newly enacted Farm Bill will help USDA Rural Development continue to support Claremont, and other rural communities, knowing that these investments produce vibrant and safe places to live and work.”
The senior center will use the funds to replace refrigerator and freezer compressors that had outlasted their useful life. The center provides meals, health, wellness, and social programs to seniors. Without the newly purchased refrigeration components, nutritious meals could not be offered. The center provides locally produced foods, when available, through its meal program.
"Without the help of a USDA Grant, the Claremont Senior Center Inc. would have been hard up to finance the replacement of its 12 year old walk-in freezer and refrigerator,” said Claire Lessard, Executive Director. “We were very grateful and appreciative of the grant help to continue our meals program for our senior community. USDA Grants have been a tremendous help to our center in past years and we hope to continue the relationship!"
The most recent funding complements a $17,400 USDA grant in 2011 to help improve access to the center and purchase computers for its learning center. The same USDA grant program has contributed more than $140,000 in grants in and around Claremont, including grants to help reinforce the roof of the fire station and install a solar hot water system, to purchase an emergency generator for the town, to help Valley Region Hospital purchase medical equipment, and to make improvements at Turning Points Network facilities
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted that the investments made in Claremont and the Claremont Senior Center are another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
USDA RD administers and manages housing, business, and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. For more information on USDA RD or the Community Facilities Program visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.