Aging Well in Maine

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Government Shutdown Stinks in Lewiston, ME

Have you driven by the SeniorsPlus Meals on Wheels kitchen (National Guard Armory on Goddard Road in Lewiston) recently?  Close your windows when you go by, and don’t slow down too much…because it stinks!

The last trash pickup for the kitchen was on October 2, when the government shut down.  Since then, the garbage keeps piling up, the National Guard uses their backhoe to compact it, but no one can take it away. Meals on Wheels served fish last week on Thursday and there’s some chicken in there that’s really, really ripe.

We might get lulled into thinking the government shutdown doesn’t really reach Lewiston, ME.  Well, here it is.  Stinking garbage that can’t be picked up because the National Guard has no money to pay its subcontractors.  That, of course, means that Meals on Wheels, who leases the space from the National Guard, can’t get trash removed.  Hence the stinking garbage.

Of course, stinking garbage is just one small, very smelly symptom of this shutdown.  On a bigger scale, SeniorsPlus is currently running all of its federally funded programs on faith that we’ll be paid on our new contract that was to go into effect October 1.  There’s no guarantee that will happen.

We only have so much reserve cash to keep up this good faith effort.  We’re now in Week Three of the shutdown, and we’re watching carefully, day by day, trying to figure out how long we can continue serving Meals on Wheels, providing caregiver respite and helping people figure out their Medicare plans without any money.

I think we’re all kind of scratching our heads right now, trying to figure out the reason was for this shutdown.  It doesn’t seem to be having any positive outcome for anyone.  From all those furloughed federal employees who are now living on credit cards, to stinking garbage in Lewiston – what’s the point?

It all seems a bit fishy…and stinky.