Group that feeds elderly outgrows home, needs new facility

FRANKLIN, Ind. - A non-profit organization which serves the elderly now needs help to keep up with the growing demand.

Johnson County Senior Services provides many services to seniors including a free ride to the doctor's office, Christmas gifts, and food. JCSS feeds about 1,500 people a month.

"Just last year we distributed $361,000 in food which is a 44.4 percent increase from year 2014," explained the organization's Executive Director Kimberly Smith.

One of those clients was in such dire circumstances, Smith said he was hungry for 10 days and was surviving on dog food. Telling us his story made her cry.

“This man had no teeth either. So he was soaking the dog food in the palm of his hand just to get enough crumbs down to sustain," she said. "Then we get a call who says there's an 88-year-old man and his 73-year-old wife who are eating maggot-covered food out of the garbage can. It's every single day these stories happen and it's getting worse."

The growth in need had created a tight situation at JCSS's office. The 2,000 square foot house gifted to JCSS by Franklin College nearly two decades ago, but now it's not enough. There are canned goods, boxes, medical supplies pushed into any nook and cranny workers can find.

"It looks like we’re hoarders and we’re not!” said Smith.

Things have gotten so tight, employees started storing items at a barn off-site last year, but it's not ideal.

"There are parade things in here. There are vehicles in here. It truly is a temporary situation in here which is why we desperately need to get a new facility," she said.

The new facility JCSS has picked out would be four times the size of the house, but it comes at a cost. The non-profit needs to raise $360,000 by Nov. 29 to purchase the building.

Smith hopes the community will help her keep serving a generation she feels is forgotten.

"They're so under-served. They have no sense of entitlement. They have no expectations. Most of them feel like they're a burden to the community. They feel like they're a burden to their families," said Smith. "We live in an affluent county. We live in an amazing state. How can we have people who are truly suffering in silence? It's not okay."

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