Fed. budget cuts to Meals on Wheels concerns seniors

FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - Federal budget cuts are impacting a program many local seniors depend on. Meals on Wheels will have to cut around 50 Florence seniors from the program.

Administrators at the Senior Citizens Association in Florence say their Meals on Wheels program serves more than 300 seniors daily. Many of those seniors depend on two meals from the agency. Linda Johnson is the Executive Director of Senior Citizens Association; she said the center has already begun getting calls from concerned seniors.

"It's a home bound program were talking about people physically unable to leave there homes, and were talking about meals not going to their homes," said Johnson. "Maybe the husband will get a meal and the wife wont. How do you split a meal? Who get's the meal?"

Johnson says with 50 seniors being cut from the program, 12,500 meals will not be served this upcoming year.

"We're talking about people who are at a disadvantage from a physical stand point or an emotional stand point, and they live alone, they're not in a position to prepare their own meals," said Johnson.

Executives at the Senior Citizens Association said their budget for Meals on Wheels is around $8,000 . She added part of that cost is covered by the United Way, and the other half covered by federal funds.

"We've already been informed it's coming, to get ready for that. We don't know which clients will be impacted by that," said Johnson.

Johnson tells WMBF it is not clear which seniors will be cut from the program. She says the agency will have to take a look to see which clients have the greater need. She added the financial stability of a client is not a factor. The agency is expected to have more concrete answers from the federal government this summer.

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