For Immediate Release: October 1, 2009
Sen. Kenneth Corn
Corn Says Senior Nutrition Centers Must
$7.4 Million Cut Could Leave Thousands of Elderly Without Hot Meals
Apathy is no longer acceptable, senator says
State leaders were called upon today to immediately meet in special
session to stop more than $7 million in budget cuts that will lead
to the closing of senior nutrition centers statewide and imperil
the lives of thousands of Oklahoma’s oldest citizens, state
Corn said today.
State Department of Human Services officials cut nearly 30 percent
of the state’s nutrition program budget earlier this week,
eliminating funding for more than 780,000 hot meals that are scheduled
to be served to the state’s elderly and home bound citizens
during the remainder of the fiscal year.
The cut, DHS officials said, was made in response to declining state
revenues. It is the second time this fall DHS has cut its budget
because of revenue shortfalls.
The nutrition program serves hot meals on a daily basis to thousands
of senior citizens in nearly every Oklahoma community, either through
community kitchens, senior citizen centers, or the meals-on-wheels
program. In many cases, the food the program serves is the only
hot meal many elderly Oklahomans receive each day.
Corn, D-Poteau, criticized DHS Commissioners for making the nutrition
program shoulder virtually the entire round of budget cuts. As a
veteran of the appropriations committee during the budget problems
in 2002 and 2003, Corn said he understands revenue shortfalls require
cuts, but absent legislative intervention, the cuts will continue
to be automatically applied and will cause irreversible harm, especially
to our most vulnerable citizens. No other program was cut as deep
as the nutrition program in the second round of reductions, according
to DHS documents.
“If this stands, many of our elderly are going to go hungry
and risk their health and independence. To me that is absolutely
unacceptable,” Corn said. “No one should go without
the food they need to live!”
For more information contact:
Senator Corn: 405-521-5576