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Senior meals supporters crowd Oklahoma's Capitol

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: November 5, 2009 at 1:18 am •  Published: November 5, 2009
Concerned that thousands of older Oklahomans are going without a meal, about 400 showed up Wednesday at the state Capitol to urge state leaders to restore $7.4 million in funding cuts to senior nutrition programs.

Marjorie Lyons, volunteer state president of AARP Oklahoma, said many seniors who rely on home-delivered meals may no longer be able to live independently and instead may be forced into nursing homes, which would be more costly to the state.

Lyons, of Broken Arrow, said 97,744 meals in Tulsa County will not be delivered to 700 senior residents between Sunday, when the cuts took effect, and June 30, the end of this fiscal year. Three meal sites have suspended serving meals.

"We realize these are tough economic times, but when Oklahoma can fund a tax credit for electric golf carts, surely we can find the money to feed hungry Oklahoma seniors,” she said.

Oklahoma AARP gave those attending the rally empty paper plates and asked people to sign them and send them to legislators and the governor to illustrate the 790,000 hot meals that won’t be served between now and June 30.

Some were angry at the start of the rally, but cheers broke out when Sen. Kenneth Corn told the crowd the governor told him about an immediate funding idea.

Central Oklahoma cuts

Three Oklahoma County sites that fed meals to older Oklahomans have closed because of state funding cuts, an aging agency official said Wednesday.

Senior nutrition sites in Choctaw and Edmond and the Joy site in south Oklahoma City have closed, said Don Hudman, executive director of the Areawide Aging Agency, which covers central Oklahoma.

In Canadian County, $27,364 is being cut. Both nutrition sites, in Mustang and El Reno, are closed one day a week.

In Cleveland County, the cuts in funding amount to $36,006. The Little Axe site is closed and the Eagle Heights site will serve meals three days instead of five days a week.

In Logan County, the cuts total $41,058. No nutrition sites will close

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