- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - At least 170 Dubuque residents who receive hot meals through a humanitarian program will be serving frozen dinners instead this month due to a dispute over mileage reimbursements that prompted some volunteers to quit.

The Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging informed residents participating in the Mobile Meals program of the switch in meals in a letter last week, the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/1CGOvUG ) reported.

The agency said it contracted its program through a hospital until July 1, when it then entered a new contract with a company to prepare the meals to help save around $130,000. The transition hit a snag when a $3.20 per day stipend and 39 cents per mile in mileage reimbursements dropped for volunteers when the meal provider changed.

The agency said it offered to reinstate a 45-cent-per-mile reimbursement last week. It also is reaching out to area churches and other organizations to provide volunteers, said Chief Operating Officer Greg Zars.

The temporary switch in hot meals to frozen dinners has concerned Kitty Brown, whose father-in-law has participated in the program for around five years. The 74-year-old has Parkinson’s disease, and she said that making the meals himself is a challenge. She and her husband help him fix his frozen dinners, but she said she’s concerned about others in Dubuque.

The program has been available in Dubuque for more than 30 years. Zars said the agency serves a growing population of residents more than 60 years old.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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