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Hundreds of Oklahomans rally at state Capitol for senior meals

By Michael McNutt - Capitol Bureau Modified: November 4, 2009 at 1:04 pm •  Published: November 4, 2009
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AARP Oklahoma gave people empty paper plates to show how Oklahoma's greatest generation — the name given to those who fought in World War II — is now fighting hungry. They were asked to sign their names and give it to their legislators.

Marjorie Lyons, volunteer state president of AARP Oklahoma, said the funding cut is affecting thousands of elderly Oklahomans.

"From north to south, east to west, in cities and towns like Edmond, Calera, Maysville, Caddo, Wynnewood, Roff, Commerce, Choteau and Locust Grove, senior nutrition sites are no longer serving lunch," said Lyons, of Broken Arrow. "And you won't find a meal on any Friday between now and the end of the fiscal year in Enid, Ponca City, Newkirk, Blackwell or Billings."

Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, called again on Henry to use 5 percent of his $105 million in discretionary federal stimulus funds for the program. The governor earlier said those funds already were committed and they are to be spent on one-time projects.

The state Department of Human Services cut $7.4 million earmarked for some senior nutrition programs to deal with a monthly 5 percent cut in state funding. Those monthly funding cuts are expected to continue through June, the end of this fiscal year, because state revenue has come in 26 percent below estimates for the first quarter.