Tift seniors court governor over budget - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tift seniors court governor over budget

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 By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

Tifton, GA (WALB) - Senior citizens at a Tift County center have turned their hearts over to Governor Sonny Perdue this Valentines Day. 30 Seniors wrote on heart-shaped letters to plead for the future of the Leroy Rogers Center.

Pam Lanier is one of 30 seniors in Tifton who gets lunch at the Leroy Rogers Center. And like many of the seniors here this is all she has left. "I lost everything when I came here they just opened their hearts. They give you something to eat, and you wouldn't eat other wise."

The center has been serving meals for the elderly since 1997. "Most of these seniors, unfortunately retirement doesn't last as long as it used to, and this is the only meal they get," said Nutrition Manager, Christine McHenry.

But they provide more than just a warm meal a day. "I met a lot of new people who are my age. So we just get together and have a good time," said Vera Norris.

But recent budget cuts in state funding are making it harder for centers like this one to continue providing their services. "They've already cut $300,000 earlier this year, and they're may be other proposed cuts," said Director, Samantha Lawson.

Governor Perdue is now proposing a $60,000 cut in nutrition programs, and a $70,000 cut in respite care programs throughout the state. And is why they took the time to write about their concerns if their center were to have to cut back.

"Everything is great here. And I love everybody, and I want him to keep this program open if he can," said Joseph Lutton.

"You might as well hammer the last nail into the coffin because a lot of these seniors have nothing else to live for; if it wasn't for their friends and they things they get here," said Lanier. And they hope he reconsiders the proposed cuts.

Seniors who attend centers in 18 other counties also joined the Leroy Rogers Center in sending letters to Governor Perdue asking him to reconsider cuts to their nutrition and respite care programs.

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