• Federal budget cuts could mean fewer meals for some central Florida seniors


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Federal budget cuts may be taking food out of the mouths of some of central Florida's oldest residents. Funding for Meals On Wheels has been slashed.

    Channel 9's Lori Brown went to Osceola County to see what some seniors are doing to protect the only hot meal that some of them get each day.

    The messages these seniors wrote on their plates says it all. One woman wrote wrote, "Please do not take away my meal."

    "Don't cut the funds. Seniors need to eat just like everyone," said Donna Lloyd.

    Lloyd is a widow who lives alone. She said that when she's by herself she often doesn't eat.

    "I don't feel like cooking for myself," Lloyd said.

    She said that every day she looks forward to coming to the Osceola Council on Aging, a place where she can get a hot and nutritious meal.

    But she and the rest of these seniors won't always get a hot meal on Thursdays anymore.

    The sequestration has cut 20 percent of the funding for the Osceola Council on Aging. To make up for the loss they are cutting out the Thursday meal, but sometimes they can still manage to find a business to donate something like pizza.

    "This may be the only meal they have in a day," said Wilda Belisle with Meals On Wheels of Osceola County.

    Now, Meals On Wheels programs across the country are worried the programs will face even more cuts as a possible government shutdown looms.

    The normally quiet group of Osceloa County seniors decided to make their voices known by symbolically writing messages on their empty plates.

    They will mail those plates to Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.

    "Your plate is full, what about mine?" said 79-year-old Betty Bash.

    Bash said she hopes that when the politicians go home to a hot meal they will remember that it is a luxury many seniors are without.

    While one meal was cut in Kissimmee's program, two have been cut in Poinciana.

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