• Marion Meals on Wheels hopes new campaign puts food on tables


    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Dozens of Marion County seniors who are in need of daily meals can't get them.
    That's because the county's Meals on Wheels program is still suffering from federal funding cuts that resulted from the sequestration last year.
    Channel 9's Lori Brown learned that the nonprofit is hoping an 87-year-old's idea will help them get meals to those who need them.
    Paul Bell served his country as a petty officer second class in the Navy during World War II.
    "I was on Normandy Beach and everything thing in the Pacific to Tokyo," the 89-year-old Bell said.
    After his wife died of Alzheimer's Bell started coming to Marion Senior Services for lunch.
    "What would you eat for lunch if you couldn't come here?" Channel 9's Lori Brown asked Bell.
    "That's a good question," he said.
    Bell said he is concerned about the 88 seniors who are on a waiting list for Marion County's Meals on Wheels program.
    Officials with the Meals on Wheels program said they can't afford to deliver the meals after the federal government cut $78,000 from the program during sequestration last year.
    Sarah Stroh, with Marion Senior Services, said the program does a lot more just than feed people.
    "In May 2013, for eight days straight we had to call 911 because when the driver got (to a home) the person had fallen and couldn't get up and needed medical attention. Or they could tell the person they see on a daily basis something was wrong medically," said Stroh.
    Last year a campaign led by 87-year-old volunteer Mildred Musho helped save meals in senior centers around the county.
    Stroh hopes the same thing can happen now for the Meals on Wheels program.
    Musho's "Give a Buck" campaign proposes that with 330,000 people living in Marion County, if just 24 percent gave $1 it would be more than enough to provide meals for everyone in need.

    "Our primary thing on this earth is to help people, it's not about money. It's about serving your fellow man," said Bell.

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    Marion Meals on Wheels hopes new campaign puts food on tables