Seniors fight cuts to Meals on Wheels

Published: Jul. 10, 2013 at 9:41 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2013 at 9:51 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Senior Citizens, Incorporated is distributing blank paper plates to its Meals on Wheels clients, asking that they write letters to their Congressional delegates protesting cuts to the program that serves 3,000 seniors in the Coastal Empire, including many who eat at the Thunderbolt Senior Center for 54 cents a day.

"I asked them to please try to stand up for us,'' said Ruth Walker, who attends the Thunderbolt center. "We're for them, we vote for them and we need their help.''

"The reason we're doing this,'' added Senior Citizens, Inc. president Patti Lyons, "is seniors are very dignified and they're quiet. They're not out causing trouble. But the people that are making decisions for them, they need to hear from them.''

And they will through this letter-writing campaign, 3,000 plates with personalized messages protesting the $80,000 being cut from the meals on wheels funding due to sequestration.

That's 14 percent of the local program's budget, but it could affect a larger percentage of some seniors diets.

"The seniors are the ones that go to bed hungry,'' said Walker. "A lot of times, the only meal a senior gets is one meal a day. I don't event eat breakfast. I don't eat supper. So, that meal was a main meal for me.''

But the impact could be even greater if this campaign is not successful.

"I imagine a lot of them might have to go to, well, maybe go to garbage cans,'' said Carl Franklin, who attends the Thunderbolt Senior Center. "I've heard some people having to do that, go behind restaurants and establishments and seeing what food is there.'

"The sad thing is it costs us $6 a day to feed somebody,'' added Lyons. "If one person spends one extra day in the hospital because of malnourishment, that (cost) would feed a senior for a year. So, to me, this is robbing from Peter to pay Paul. And Paul costs a lot of money.''

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