Two new cars purchased by the Soldotna Senior Center to support its Meals on Wheels program are parked outside the center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. The senior center used $100,000 provided through the federal American Rescue Plan Act to purchase the vehicles. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Two new cars purchased by the Soldotna Senior Center to support its Meals on Wheels program are parked outside the center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. The senior center used $100,000 provided through the federal American Rescue Plan Act to purchase the vehicles. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Senior meals program gets a lift

Soldotna Senior Center uses federal rescue funds for new Meals on Wheels vehicles

The Soldotna Senior Center bought two new cars this week to enhance its Meals on Wheels program, courtesy of federal grant dollars.

Loretta Knudson-Spalding, the executive director of the center, said Wednesday that she’s excited for the new additions.

“It’s really kind of a dream come true for me,” she said. “As a new director, I’ve seen things that I know need to be replaced, but we all have limited funds because we’re nonprofits.”

The Soldotna Senior Center received $100,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, as part of the state’s $20 million grant for the nonprofit sector, Knudson-Spalding said.

The center spent $80,000 on both Ford Edge automobiles, she said, and plans to spend the remaining $20,000 on kitchen supplies and other infrastructure the facility needs for its food delivery service.

“It’s just going to all be to boost our meal program here,” Knudson-Spalding said.

Like other senior centers on the central peninsula and in the state, the Soldotna facility struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knudson-Spalding told the Clarion last October that the virus did damage to the community by isolating seniors.

But now the senior center is hosting in-person meals again, and plans to use the new cars to enhance at-home delivery — which feeds around 150 people every day.

Although the new cars will primarily be used for the Meals on Wheels program, she said they will also be used to transport some of the seniors to lunches and other activities at the center.

“We just want to make sure that we have everything we need to continue our programs and make sure that seniors have proper nutrition,” Knudson-Spalding said. “Because (for) some of them, it’s their only meal of the day.”

The cars will be ready to hit the road next week.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

Soldotna Senior Center Executive Director Loretta Knudson-Spalding, left, and Jill Schaefer, regional director of the Office of the Governor, pose next to the senior center’s new cars in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna Senior Center Executive Director Loretta Knudson-Spalding, left, and Jill Schaefer, regional director of the Office of the Governor, pose next to the senior center’s new cars in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read