Senior Center nutrition program funding down millions 

Flags decorate the parking lot of the Bella Vida Senior Center as car line up for their Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Courtesy
Flags decorate the parking lot of the Bella Vida Senior Center as car line up for their Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Courtesy

Roughly $5.1 million in temporary COVID funding no longer available; multiple services to be discontinued after Friday, approximately 900 to miss out on daily meals 

The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center is warning SCV and Antelope Valley residents that its nutrition programs are losing $5.1 million in state and federal funding, and many services will be discontinued after Friday. 

The center had been receiving temporary COVID-19 relief funding from both the state and federal governments, but with the end of the COVID emergency in February 2023, that funding is no longer available. According to a news release from the center, the following services will no longer be offered after Friday: 

  • The “drive thru” lunch service providing meals to about 700 seniors a day. 
  • The walk-up “to go” meal service serving over 200 individuals. 

The Senior Center will also be affected in the following ways: 

  • “Sit down dining” offered inside the Senior Center at Bella Vida will be capped at 350 meals per day. A waiting list will be established on Monday. 
  • Meal services at the Bouquet Canyon Apartments will remain for the 70 participants but new referrals will not be accepted. 
  • Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors is capped at 500 people per day, with funding secured through February. 
  • Significant layoffs and changes to the staff at the center. 

Kevin MacDonald, CEO of the Senior Center, said the center is still working on exactly how many employees will be laid off as a result of the termination of the temporary funding source for those positions. 

In total, approximately 900 seniors will lose meal services. 

The center’s other amenities will remain unaffected. 

In a phone interview on Tuesday, MacDonald said the COVID funding was critical to “get us through the COVID years.” He added that the center only learned last week that it would not have its meal programs funded as had been the case during the pandemic and up to the current fiscal year. 

But now, after being able to serve anywhere from 1,500 to 1,600 people on a given day through its meal programs, MacDonald said the center is actively looking into alternatives for the 900 people who will no longer be able to access those services. 

“These are people that usually come to the center, so they’ll have to find other means for food and we’re going to post some resources on our website of where they can seek additional food, if it’s needed,” MacDonald said. “We are going to be developing a crisis list of those who are malnourished and need meals and try to assist them through our social work team.” 

MacDonald did not immediately have a list of resources on Tuesday for seniors to take advantage of. 

The Senior Center, which opened its current 30,000-square-foot, two-story location at 27180 Golden Valley Road in April 2019, prepares approximately 2,000 meals a day, according to MacDonald. It also features a banquet hall that seats more than 250 people, a fitness and dance studio, an outdoor cabana with concert seating, six multipurpose rooms and a library. 

The center added the Antelope Valley to its Meal on Wheels program in 2018, providing “thousands of meals” and dining sites in Palmdale, Lancaster and Lake Los Angeles, according to information available on the organization’s website. 

As for future funding, MacDonald said he and his team are hoping that there will be some federal relief through the Older Americans Act, which has a special section for nutrition that is appropriated by Congress. After that, each county across the nation chooses which organizations will receive that funding. 

MacDonald said the Senior Center has always been supported by the county. 

Other forms of funding come from local donors, as well as the city of Santa Clarita and L.A. County, according to MacDonald. 

“Each year, we receive a tremendous amount of support to keep our programs going from our local donors,” he said. “They’ve been very, very supportive of the Senior Center. The city has been tremendously supportive and so has the county and the state.” 

MacDonald said that even if there is additional funding that the state can provide, something he isn’t hopeful of, he knows it won’t be a “total answer” to the center’s needs. 

“We’ve been providing this incredible service for a long time, and I think all of us here, our hearts go out to those that will be impacted,” MacDonald said. “But we will do everything we can to continue to advocate for additional funding and to serve seniors in every way we can at the Senior Center through our social work team and other resources.” 

The SCV Senior Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

To join a waiting list for meals or to signal a need for food resources, email [email protected]. For emergency services, call the Senior Center’s support services department at 661-259-944 ext. 130. 

For more information on the Senior Center, visit 

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