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Health News Florida

Eldercare Services Expands Offerings as Big Fundraiser Nears

Eldercare Services of the Big Bend Executive Director Mark Baldino
Eldercare Services of the Big Bend Executive Director Mark Baldino

A lot of things are happening at Eldercare Services of the Big Bend. That includes the addition of several new services and an upcoming fundraiser that is one of the area’s most eagerly anticipated community parties.

Eldercare Services of the Big Bend Executive Director Mark Baldino
Credit ecsbigbend.org
Eldercare Services of the Big Bend Executive Director Mark Baldino

There’s plenty of good news to report, but there’s also some news that doesn’t really fit into the “good” category. Eldercare Services Executive Director Mark Baldino wanted to get that out of the way first.

“So we haven’t had an increase in our Older American Acts funding for 8 or 9 years. That’s the Meals on Wheels money. So they finally increased the rate they’re going to pay us, but not the total amount,” Baldino said, adding it means more per meal allowance, which actually translates to fewer meals being served.

So the federal funding situation isn’t all that great. But on the local funding front, Baldino said things are much more positive.

“We were fortunate this year. The United Way had a good year and so we benefited from that and we got about a 17% increase over last year,” he said.

Those are the more traditional sources of money for Eldercare Services. And Baldino said the organization has also been thinking outside the box; looking for profitable partnerships with other entities.

“We’ve entered into an agreement with Local Senior Discounts – (owned by) Lew Wilson – so we have this now in partnership and we split the revenue. So when he sells to a retailer and they advertise on his web site we split that revenue plus we sell the cards, and they’re one-time; you buy them one-time for $5 if you’re 50 and above.”

In addition, Baldino explained there is now a “fee for service” component.

“All the things we do for Medicaid and low-income we also provide for people who can pay. We’ve got a lot of new private meals accounts, charter schools, other agencies, FSU, so we’re providing meals out there for contract fees.”

Because of the cash flow from ventures like this, Baldino said Elder Care Services is adding a new dimension to its service lineup; namely transporting people in addition to ferrying food around.

“The focus is really going to be on doctors’ offices and pharmacies and the third is the grocery store, but the two major priorities is we’re going to transport them to the doctor and get their meds. So that’s something we’re going to pay for. We’ve carved out some money for that and we’re going to implement that over the next 30 days.”

And there’s something else that will be happening about 30 days and two weeks from now; it’s the 18th Annual Elder Care Services Oktoberfest. “It’s going to be on September 30th, Baldino said. “We’re bringing in a great tribute band from Tampa and we’ll have the oompah band. We’ll have for the first time no fear of weather because we’ll be under cover and no parking problems like we’ve had at the past at both Goodwood and at the Mission (San Luis), because when you grow an event in this town to over 1,000 people, those problems become real.”

Baldino said the solution was simply relocating the event to the huge “Brickyard” area at the Centre of Tallahassee. That’s another entity Elder Care Services is partnering with during concerts and other events. By the way, you can find out more about Oktoberfest on the web site: ecsbigbend.org.

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