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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A daily delivery providing food and a familiar face to local seniors in need may be in jeopardy.
According to a published report from the White House Kentucky will lose $677,000 in funding for programs providing nutritional assistance to seniors. It's one of the many casualties of sequestration, an $85 billion cut to federal agencies that took effect Friday.
Dorothy Bratcher said she doesn't know much about the sequester but at 94 year old she does know that a Meals on Wheels volunteer brings a hot lunch to her Shively home five days a week. Bratcher said, "I don't have to cook it and I don't have to buy it, so yes it helps out in a lot of ways." The Kentucky Regional Planning and Development agency or KIPDA administers Meals on Wheels dollars through grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Leaders say they will have to serve fewer seniors.
Not just the 500 in Jefferson County receiving Meals on Wheels each week but tens of thousands more who eat free at senior centers throughout the state every day. KIPDA Executive Director Jack Couch said, "We'll be looking at it and doing all things possible to see what options we may have to best make this work until better financial days arrive." The Meals on Wheels program also receives local and state funding in Kentucky which some hope could offset the federal cut. Couch said, "We take this serious our service to our communities and my philosophy and thought is seniors deserve whatever we can do for them certainly at the very least for the meal services to continue."
The White House report identifies a nearly $150 million loss coming to Kentucky through sequestration. Fort Knox will see the biggest hit in the state with a $122 million cut and possible employee furloughs. Kentucky schools will have to shore up a nearly $12 million reduction and 160 teaching positions at risk.
The sequester was an idea to force lawmakers to compromise on the deficit though they remain locked in a standoff over spending. President Obama wants to close tax loopholes benefiting wealthy Americans but GOP leaders in Congress refuse to raise taxes. People like Bratcher are caught in the middle of the fight.
Bratcher is not worried about her daily delivery just yet. She reminds with age comes wisdom saying, " It's not as bad as the depression. I think if people live through that then they can live through anything."