Funding problems from farther up the food chain has left managers of a senior citizen nutrition program in the tough spot of having to cut services to a handful of cities in the region, including two in Garvin County.

On the hit list are nutrition services provided to senior centers in Wynnewood and Maysville.

The reason is a cutback in state funding required to meet the match for federal funds, said Pat Peay, director of the Southern Oklahoma Nutrition Program that includes Garvin County in its 10-county region.

“My program took a pretty big hit,” Peay said. “We’re closing seven and praying that will do. I’m not sure that it will. I understand the state problem with funding, but it’s difficult this particular program took such a cut.”

With funding coming through the state Department of Human Services, Peay said the cuts for the entire region totaled nearly $360,000, which represents a big hit to the program’s $2 million overall budget.

“When you lose over $359,000 that’s a tough pill to swallow.”

A decision was made to close a total of seven nutrition sites on Nov. 1.

Along with Wynnewood and Maysville, other sites that closed this week are in Caddo, Calera, Wapanucka, Kingston and Roff.

“I’ve been here 33 years, and I’ve never had anything like this happen. It’s been hard. It’s really been hard,” Peay said.

“These are folks who depend on these meals. Some of them eat part of the meal and then take it home for later.”

This larger set of cutbacks follows a smaller one, 7 percent, since the start of the fiscal year in July, which Peay said was manageable until this recent development.

The services once provided in Wynnewood and Maysville do have a connection to Pauls Valley.

“We have been cooking meals at the Pauls Valley site and transporting them to Maysville and Wynnewood,” Peay said.

“That won’t be happening any more. The meals just won’t be taken over there. The money is just not there.

“As far as our part of it is concerned the community can still keep it going. They’ll just have to do it with other funding,” she said, referring to Wynnewood and Maysville. “We’re going to leave equipment at the sites and see what happens.

“I do plan to try and figure out some way to deliver frozen meals to the homebound in those areas. Right now I just don’t if that will happen.”

Nutrition services provided at the senior center in Pauls Valley remain unchanged for now.

“We may have to cut back a little on the staff hours because they won’t be cooking for the Maysville or Wynnewood sites,” she said.

No jobs were lost in Garvin County, but a total of 16 others were chopped in the program’s 10-county region.

Peay said the possibility of the lost services returning anytime soon don’t look good.

“I’m not going to be too optimistic it will come back even when things recover.”

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