LOMBARD, Ill. (WLS) --Citing the state's budget impasse, Meals on Wheels in DuPage County is reducing the number of home food deliveries to seniors and shutting down community centers.
Meals on Wheels volunteer Edward Gaston delivers what may be the only hot meal Kenneth Steiner, 69, will eat all day. Today's menu: chicken parmigiana and vegetables.
On Monday, the DuPage Senior Citizens Council will scale back its operations, leaving thousands of seniors who can't afford meals or can't cook for themselves because of a disability without consistent access to food.
"It's going to really put us in a bind," Steiner said.
The program currently provides 700 to 800 homebound seniors with meals five days a week. Starting January 11, only two meals a week will be delivered- on Mondays and Thursday.
Meals on Wheels announced in December the organization would have to scale back because of the state's budget impasse, which has held up the roughly $710,000 it gets a year. Since July, the group has been using reserve dollars to keep going, volunteers said.
"These are the poorest of the poor. Eighty-percent of whom we serve are 125-percent below the poverty line," Marylin Krolak, executive director of the DuPage County Senior Citizens Council, said.
The councils' eight community dining sites, which feed another 300 to 400 seniors, will also close. The Glendale Heights Center for Senior Citizens served its last lunch on Friday.
Senior said they'll miss the conversation as much as the security of knowing where their next meal was coming from.
"They could tighten up on the budget and say don't touch the Meals on Wheels," Flo Dangello said.
Krolak said the council will continue its well-being checks.