Sequester could cut meals for seniors - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Sequester could cut meals for seniors

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For the first time ever, the Cameron Council on Aging will have a waiting list to provide seniors with "Meals on Wheels."

It's fallout from the sequester which means fewer dollars available for such programs.

At the senior center in Cameron Parish, older folks come to eat a hot, nutritious meal.

"I enjoy coming here, I enjoy the food. It's good for us," said Lerdie Taylor, senior.

Her husband, Mervyn, admits they'd make do without the meals. But he'd hate to see them go.

"I hope they don't cut them out because so many people need it. If they have a problem, I would be willing to stay home, let others come in here that really need it more than I do," said Taylor.

Cameron Council on Aging Director Dinah Landry said many rely on the meals for proper nutrition. She said it's sad that fewer seniors who need the meals may not get them because of the sequester.

"We're not talking about a luxury. We're not talking about going out to eat at a fancy restaurant or whatever, a pleasurable meal like that. We're talking about people's lives and their ability to have a nutritious diet every day. And we just want them to put on their thinking caps and help us to keep our meals program intact," Landry said.

Landry is the president of the Louisiana Council on Aging Directors' Association. She predicts in July that councils in various parishes will really feel the effects of the sequester.

"Once we get everything in it's going to be 4.5 percent. But many parishes haven't realized it yet because it starts July 1," said Landry.

In anticipation of the cuts, she said they have stopped adding people and will have a "Meals on Wheels" waiting list.

"Some of our neighboring parishes in Jeff Davis Parish, they're planning to cut two meal sites and they're starting to cut back on their home delivered meals, as well as in Allen Parish," said Landry.

Meals are provided at a cost of $3.65 per meal per person, five days each week. It's estimated 4.7 million meals are served to elderly people in Louisiana each year.

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