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Meals on Wheels program in jeopardy

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Updated: 10/16/2013 9:15 pm
PONTOTOC, Miss. (WTVA)--The Meals on Wheels program feeds thousands of senior citizens across the United States everyday.

"It's never been closed for a budget crisis," said Janet Clark, the Home Delivery Meal Coordinator for the Lee County Multi-Purpose center.

But, the partial government shutdown meant the federally-funded program was on a path to a shutdown of its own.

"I really hope that Washington gets their stuff together and we stay open," said Clark.

Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging, Division Director, Cleveland Joseph says Senate leaders announcing a deal to re-open the government gives him hope that lawmakers will in fact take action.

"This is probably a temporary fix. But, right now it gives us a lot of relief," said Joseph.

If the government shutdown were to continue, Joseph says, in about six weeks the Meals on Wheels Program would come to a screeching halt.

"It would hurt a lot of seniors who would be missing out on a daily meal. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it means a lot to the seniors," said Joseph.

Joseph says through 19 sites, Three Rivers serves seniors in 8 North Mississippi counties, and supplies more than 3,500 meals a day. But, he says the program is not just about the meals.

"Sometimes this is the only visit that they get. So, it's not only that meal, but it's the socialization also," said Joseph.

Joseph says although the program receives some state and local funding, 80 percent of the funding is provided by the federal government.
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