Senior Meals Program Facing Cuts

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, March 13 2013 at 4:19 PM, Updated: Wed, March 13 2013 at 4:30 PM

Funding that helped to provide over 80 thousand meals for seniors in Klamath County last year is continuing to drop...and even bigger cuts are on the horizon.

Paul Shipman says his 3 dollar daily meal at the Senior Center means a lot to him...

"I think for people our age, it's so important - not only for the nutritional value, but the social value."

Colette Fleck of the Senior Citizen's Council adds that for home-bound seniors relying on 'Meals on Wheels', that daily contact is even more important...

"Not only is it the fact that meals are delivered, but our volunteers have the ability to check on seniors, see if they're okay."

Klamath Basin Senior Center Executive Director Marc Kane notes that the senior meals are funded through a mix of federal, state, local, and private funding...

"I think all of our funding sources are expected to decrease in this next year."

"The figure I've heard on some of the programs is about 17%."  Adds Colette Fleck.  "On just the state level."

Klamath County's funding was 60 thousand dollars in 2010 - and was dropped to 35 thousand last year. 

Kane notes that as budgets tighten, the Senior Center may have to cut hours, or services...

"That means, people will go without meals."

And also put a serious crimp in Paul Shipman's social life...

"It would be a lot of cabin fever going on around Klamath Falls if we didn't have this Center."

The Senior Center is scheduled to go before the Klamath County Budget Committee on April 12th.

Executive Director Marc Kane says the Senior Center provides about 1500 meals a week.  About 135 meals are delivered daily to homes through the 'Meals on Wheels' program.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

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.

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