Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, January 17 2014 at 3:43 PM, Updated: Fri, January 17 2014 at 4:27 PM
Klamath Falls, Ore. -- Nearly 40 seniors are on a waiting list for 'Meals on Wheels' in Klamath County - there's not enough money in the program to feed them.
Aiden Cook of Mills School is helping to paint delivery bags for the 'Meals on Wheels' program.
The students plan to decorate 500 bags a month.
"And they put the meals in the bags for them." Notes Fourth Grader Aiden. "And they deliver it to the elders."
135 seniors in Klamath County rely on those meals...but the future of those meals is uncertain tonight.
Klamath Basin Senior Citizens Center Director Marc Kane says that while funding has gone down, demand has gone up...
"So we now have 39 people on a waiting list in this immediate area for Meals on Wheels."
The county cut funding for Meals on Wheels completely last year.
Atrio Health, Cascade Comprehensive Care, and Sky Lakes Medical Center made a one-time donation of 50 thousand dollars to the program last May.
But Kane is now looking for more long-term funding...
"If we don't get the renewal of the 50 thousand in one way or another, yes - we'll probably have to reduce our services."
Those meals also provide important daily contact with seniors.
And Aiden Cook hopes to keep delighting those seniors with his bags...
"I hope he likes it."
About 80 thousand meals were delivered to seniors in Klamath County last year through 'Meals on Wheels'.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.