HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – We all had big lottery dreams when the Powerball went over a billion dollars recently. The biggest cheers came from Pennsylvania, where lottery profits benefit older residents.
In Mercer County, the Shenango Valley Senior Center is seeing some of that money. Chair Zumba is just one of the activities that the regulars enjoy. Sandra Campbell feels they’re all beneficial.
“Well, I think there’s a lot of rewards we get from coming here. We have a lot of speakers that come in and talk about fraud alerts and how to stay healthy,” Sandra Campbell said.
Lottery profits provide $11 million dollars a year for the Mercer County Area Agency on Aging. It provides services to about 5,000 people in Mercer County through four senior centers.
“We keep people active and engaged so that they don’t end up going to a nursing home as soon as they might,” said Sandy Swogger, a spokesperson for the Mercer County Area Agency on Aging.
The centers have exercise rooms, computer labs, and provide a hot meal five days a week. Thirty-thousand meals were served to seniors last year at the senior centers and another 85,000 for people that can’t get out.
“Those are our two main programs that the lottery has been very beneficial for especially when you hear about the food insecurity that folks have in the area,” Swogger said.
Mercer County has 27,000 people age 60 and older, and 40% of them are 75 and older. The services also include help with prescription drugs and even transportation.
“If we didn’t have the money, the people would be lost. It’s very important to seniors,” Swogger said.
Pennsylvania is the only state where lottery profits benefit older people.
“I think it’s important for them to know that their money is going to great things and great experiences for us older folks here in Pennsylvania,” Campbell said.
Last year, the Pennsylvania Lottery contributed more than $263 million to Area Agencies on Aging across Pennsylvania.