Budget Cuts Could Impact Program Delivering Meals To Tulsa Seniors
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa area Senior Nutrition Program is facing the possibility of deep budget cuts that could make its mission to feed the elderly more difficult.
Thanks to the program, thousands of Tulsa-area senior citizens are delivered hot meals right at their doorstep, but with the state budget shortfall, they fear the program will be no more.
Charlotte Woods in Sand Springs gets two meals a day - there's even extra on Fridays to get her through the weekend.
Woods is handicapped and unable to prepare meals on her own, so the Senior Nutrition Program is her lifeline.
"I really don't make enough money to buy food, and that's the main reason I receive these meals," she said.
If proposed state budget cuts stand, the Senior Nutrition Program could lose $300,000 this fiscal year, affecting thousands of people who depend on their services and forcing those in charge to make almost impossible choices.
"It'll impact how often we visit with them and see them. We'll have to make the decision as to which frail elderly gets a meal and which one doesn't, and that's a tough decision to make," said Director of INCOG Area Agency on Aging, Clark Miller.
He said the cuts to DHS are so deep that the Senior Nutrition Program could be forced to close some sites altogether, leaving elderly clients anxious about where their next meal will come.
"I don't know how to stress the importance of this program. And if they didn't deliver, I don't know what I would do," Woods said.
Reductions in funding to these programs are not going into effect at this time. If budget relief is not forthcoming, a number of the cuts will be initiated starting December 1st.