The Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were formally established in the 1973 Older Americans Act (OAA). There are over 600 AAAs in the U.S. today, with 10 of them in Missouri. That is how our Area Agency on Aging, Region X got its name. The X is actually the Roman numeral 10.

We operate under federal and state guidelines and are funded first by the Older Americans Act. Funds authorized through the OAA are distributed three times:

The federal Administration on Aging (AoA) allocates funds to each state, using an interstate funding formula. Oversight State Units on Aging (SUAs) receive these funds.

SUAs then distribute the funds to the AAA divisions within their state, using an intrastate funding formula set down by state statute. As the smallest region in the state consisting of four counties (Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald), our allocation is under 4%. These formulas are based on senior census, economic need and other factors.

AAA’s then distribute funding across their local programs and services (nutrition services like senior center and home delivered meals, caregiver programs, information and assistance, etc.).

Besides federal OAA funds, our Area Agency on Aging receives additional funds from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Social Service Block Grants (SSBG), USDA Cash and Commodities, State General Revenue & Medicaid, Local and Federal Grants, Private Foundation Assistance, client contributions, and other contributions.

Every year, we face the dilemma of funding gaps. The suggested donation of $3.50 per meal helps reduce this gap between services needed and funds received. We always have more need than funding. Since 2009, what tiny boosts in federal funding received and the very level funding from the state have not kept pace with inflation. Recent spikes in labor costs, insurance costs, equipment repairs, and food prices have taken their toll. However, we do not charge for meals and only ask for the suggested donation of $3.50 to help us close the funding gap.

With your continued help, we can keep doing what we do. If you are interested in making a donation of your time and/or precious dollars, please contact us to find out how to do so.

JENNIFER SHOTWELL is the executive director of the AAAX.