Government cuts would affect senior meal programs in Kern County

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The forced government spending cuts could now impact programs that help seniors across Kern County.

The spending cuts won't affect seniors this fiscal year because Kern County's Aging and Adult Services saved money to prepare for sequestration. But, going forward it'll affect everything from caring for seniors to feeding them.

Hundreds of Kern County Seniors depend on hot meals from organizations like Meals on Wheels each day, but the government spending cuts could force Aging and Adult Services to cut back on its nutrition programs.

"It's hard for us old people especially the ones that are crippled to get a meal on the table especially a hot meal," said Lucy Machado.

Lito Morillo, Director of Kern County Aging and Adult Services, told 23 ABC the agency is facing $276,000 in cuts to several of its programs because of sequestration.

"Here in Kern County we are going to do our best to mitigate a lot of the damage, but it will impact programs that deal with clients that have Alzheimer's disease, our caregivers that support seniors and our nutrition programs that feed our seniors in Kern County, " explained Morillo.

That could mean fewer lunches at the 21 senior centers across the county and cuts to Meals on Wheels.

That's a program Arthur Branch told 23 ABC saved his life after losing two loved ones who had taken care of him within the same year.

"It was heartbreaking, but I was blessed so that's all that counts and the Meals on Wheels project has really helped me from going hungry."

Morillo told 23 ABC the public needs to contact their Congressman to give feedback on the cuts because the programs are so important.

"If we don't provide these services to seniors we look at higher rates of elder abuse whether it be self neglect and obviously there are a lot of seniors that do rely on the meals," said Morillo.

To donate to the Kern County Aging and Adult Services nutrition program and possibly prevent seniors from being stripped of their meals call 661-868-1000.

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