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The news article was written by Jamie Ostroff, WIAT reporter
PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — Local programs that serve the elderly across Alabama are running low on money.
Agencies, like the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging, or M4A, are forced to put homebound senior citizens in need on long waitlists.
M4A currently delivers meals to roughly 1,700 seniors across St. Clair, Shelby, Blount, Chilton, and Walker Counties.
There’s a waitlist of nearly 1,000 people, according to Laura King, the nutrition and transportation supervisor for M4A.
“It hurts. It hurts very much. Especially when they’re 92 years old, and they’re calling and telling you that they don’t have any support,” King said.
King said M4A directs people on the waitlist to local food banks, but it’s hard for those people to get to the banks. She said sometimes, volunteers help them.
According to Carolyn Fortner, the executive director of M4A, the elderly population in the counties the organization serves increased by 47% in the past decade, but state funding has not increased.
“The state has given us as much money right now as they can give us,” King added.
Thursday, M4A hosted a fundraiser in Pell City, serving a barbeque lunch donated by local sponsors for $15 per plate.
King said $1,000 provides meals for one senior citizen for a year.
Thursday’s goal was to clear the waitlist in St. Clair County, which has about 350 people on it.
King said M4A will hold fundraisers in the future to continue to shorten the waitlist in other locations.