Get the answers from Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we’ve received from Title VI program directors about nutrition, caregivers, program management and more. This page will be updated regularly with your questions, so please check back often.
Need help meal planning or just have general nutrition questions? See the Nutrition FAQs for in-depth answers.
Can a Title VI Nutrition site Provide meals at no cost to eligible non-enrolled Tribal Member elders?
To the extent resources are available after serving Tribal elders; Title VI nutrition sites may serve eligible non-enrolled Tribal elders at no cost but provide them an opportunity to voluntarily contribute toward the cost of the meal. In such instances, Title VI grantees must ensure such elders are not being reported as participants in other Title VI programs (i.e., duplicative reporting). In addition, each Title VI program must continue to maintain a clearly defined service area.
Is it true that we cannot turn ANYONE away from our meal site?
Although Federal Law generally prohibits discrimination for any reason, some grants are focused on specific populations and for Title VI programs, it is not illegal to discriminate based on age. Your program was funded based upon the number of Native American elders in your community. It is not uncommon to find non-tribal people from the neighborhood “visiting” for good cooking! It is important to remember that your responsibility is to serve American Indian Elders with your Title VI Funds.
Many Title VI programs receive large amounts of tribal “hard dollars” to supplement the funds they receive from ACL and because of this, open their doors to the entire community. This can be done, however it is against the law to spend either NSIP money or Title VI money on anything other than program costs for services to tribal elders. To make sure you are not violating the law, please keep track of all of the people you serve, both Elders and others. Add all of the meals and look at the percentage of the meals which are served to elders. Compare this number with the percentage of funds your Title VI and NSIP grant represent in your whole meal budget. The percentage of Title VI funds in your budget should NEVER be more than the percentage of meals served to Elders.
Tribal members who are not enrolled in your tribal community should be served. Keep in mind that tribal elders from your community who live elsewhere are likely being served where they live! The non-Indian spouses of your participants likely should be served or their mate will not come to the meals either.
The eligible participants for Title VI Congregate Services include:
- Tribal Elders who are the age your tribe says they are an elder or older.
- The spouse of a Tribal Elder, regardless of age.
- Individuals with disabilities who reside with the elder and accompany them to the meal site.
- Individuals with disabilities of any age who live in a location where mostly elders live and where meals are served.
- Volunteers for the MEAL PROGRAM.
If you do not get any tribal dollars, anyone younger than your determined age, non-Indian (unless they are family to the community), volunteers from other programs, office staff, Tribal Council members, children or grandchildren who come with the elders (unless they are providing care so the elder can attend), should pay the full cost of the meal.
It is not uncommon for an ineligible person to come with an elder to a meal. The best way to handle this if they cannot pay the full cost of the meal is to give them a volunteer task for the day they are there. Then you can provide a meal to them as a volunteer.
Why am I expected to serve tribal members who are enrolled elsewhere? We have fewer of our own elders than all these other elders we are feeding?
In the grant application you are asked to provide the number of elders you will serve during the grant period. Since it is not uncommon to find elders from all over the country living on your reservation, it is important that you look at the numbers closely. If your tribal enrollment numbers are higher than the census numbers in your service area, use enrollment numbers. However if you have 50 elders over the age of 60 and the Census says there are 150 elders living on your reservation, use Census numbers. Just specify which one you used on your grant.
Can I use Title III Part C for grandparents to give them a break from the grandchildren they are raising?
Yes! This is different from the non-native communities when they use their Title III E grants. The Title VI Part C grants can be used to provide Respite care for Elders raising children who are not their own by birth or adoption. The term “grandparent” could also include elder aunties and uncles, cousins, and even what is call “fictive kin.” These are elders who are not actually related, but who have taken children into their homes on behalf of a family who cannot provide good parenting for some reason.
Some tribes use these resources to pay for the children to go to summer camp, day camp, or school events so the elders can have a break. The rest they receive helps them to take a breath and continue to provide great care for the children.
Food is expensive in our rural community. It would be nice if we could accept donations of fruits and vegetables from gardens to help us feel the elders. I was told that we cannot do this because food has to be inspected by USDA. Is this true?
Fresh garden produce donated from your elders or their families or grown at your meal program in your “Elders’ Garden” is a wonderful way to stretch your Title VI program dollars! Yes you can accept it as long as you know it was handled safely and is fresh. Adding lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes from gardens to the salad you purchased will provide a wholesome addition to your menu and give pleasure to those who gifted the food to the elders. Every little donation really helps and you should make certain to announce at the meals that the “fresh salad you are eating today came from Auntie Mamie’s garden” and give thanks for their contribution.
One exception to this is that you cannot accept any food which was processed—canned food, jams and jellies, or other processed fruits and vegetables should be accepted with a huge thank you, but not served at the program.
Our elders’ van has 400,000 miles on it and we really need a new one. Can I use my Title VI money to purchase a new one?
First of all, congratulations on your vehicle maintenance program! Your van belongs in the Hall of Fame for services to elders! While purchasing a vehicle is technically allowable, there are several things to consider.
- Any purchase over $5,000 needs to be approved prior to completing it. This is done through your regional office or by requesting it directly from the central office in Washington DC.
- In order to purchase an expensive item, you need to have three bids for the item you plan to purchase. It is possible you would not be required to select the item with the lowest bid, however there would need to be a good reason for that.
- Tribal programs rarely get sufficient funds to purchase any type of vehicle which would meet your elders’ needs. If you have sufficient funds to purchase a vehicle after three years of running your program, it is likely you have some work to do on your operations.
There are a number of programs available to tribal communities to purchase NEW vehicles for your programs. Among them are some USDA grants and low income loans under their Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program. An often overlooked program for vehicle purchases is the Federal 5310 Program. This is a federal program which is run through your states Department of Transportation. I would encourage you to contact them to review your needs, your eligibility and the process to apply. The Rural Transit Assistance Program (PDF) has great information about purchasing vehicles.