The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) has received interest from multiple communities in providing nutrition program services themselves.
Executive Director Mark Farley said at least six counties are looking into providing the service.
“We’re going through the proposal process currently see what our food cost is going to be for the next year and to see what interest we have from our senior centers,” Farley said. “If they’re able to continue providing a better service, were going to support them in that effort. ”
Farley addressed the topic during Wednesday’s UCHRA Policy Council meeting.
Cannon, Fentress, Pickett, and Smith counties have expressed interest while Warren and Overton have had at least two programs interested. White County has also expressed interest through its Senior Center.
Some counties such as Overton and Smith, however, were concerned over whether they would be financially possible if they were to provide meals to those in need. Farley addressed those concerns after Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason and Overton County Executive Ben Danner wondered if their bid estimates were incorrect.
“Every community is going to have to look at it from a financial standpoint to see if it makes sense financially to do that,” Farley said. “We feel like it would probably make sense with most of them… If we can’t convince them that it’s the right thing to do, they’re free to make the choice and not be a participant.”
Farley has previously said that the nutrition program has struggled the last few years due to financial reasons and a lack of volunteers.
The UCHRA will meet with each county mayor and other officials interested in taking over the service in the near future.