Spfld seniors oppose meal program cuts

BOSTON (WWLP) — Seniors from across Massachusetts, including 11 from Springfield, are handing out empty paper plates to lawmakers that read “please don’t leave our plates empty. ” They’re reminding lawmakers who they’re hurting if they approve cuts to senior meals programs proposed by Governor Deval Patrick.

“Food supplies the body, it gives you strength, gives you the will to travel, gives you the will to go on and we need that reason to survive,” said Massachusetts Senior Action Council member Etta Williams of Springfield.

They’re going from office to office, asking lawmakers to restore the $1.5 million cut to the Elderly Nutrition Program proposed by the governor in the fiscal year 2013 state budget. The 24 percent reduction would eliminate over 240,000 free or subsidized lunches for seniors. Senior advocates said the meals program is essential to their health and well-being and that

Massachusetts Senior Action Council member John Bennett, also of Springfield, explained how the proposed cuts would end up costing the state more in the form of health care bills. “More doctors appointments, more costly prescriptions which they can’t afford and eventually probably have to go to the emergency room," said Bennett. "All the things which are going to wind up costing us and costing the state more money. ”

The Patrick administration has said that spending programs are growing faster than state resources, and so cuts in funding are inevitable.

Senior advocates hope the Legislature will forego the proposed cuts, which they believe could force many meal sites to close across the state.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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