Some senior citizens in this region are without a hot meal and they have no idea when they may get one.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the local Meals on Wheels program has a wait list. The Local Office on Aging told WDBJ 7 it’s a result of sequestration.
Don Corbin started his Wednesday morning off like he does every week by loading up his Ford Explorer and hitting the road to see some of his favorite friends.
"You develop a knowledge of them and you know them,” he said.
Corbin is retired from the railroad service and wanted to spend his time helping out the community and that’s where Meals on Wheels comes into play. The volunteer has driven the same route, three times a week, for 13 years.
Whether he is knocking on doors or pushing doorbells, he’s getting the job done. One by one he's providing hot meals to people like Elizabeth Davis, who is 99 years old.
"I've given up my car and everything so I have to depend on someone else to take me which I don't like to do,” said Davis.
But what she does enjoy are visits from Corbin and his wife, especially when they bring her favorite meal.
"Ham and biscuits,” she said while laughing. “Country ham and biscuits."
Corbin calls his service a labor of love so when word got around that budget cuts meant they had to cut down on who they serve, he wasn't happy.
"I wish we could serve them all,” he said. “I wish we didn't have to have a waiting list but that's the way LOA deals with what they have to deal with."
Director of Nutrition Programs Michele Daley said her department is feeling the cuts now more than ever.
"We have a waiting list for the first time ever," she said.
It's a harsh reality that's hard to stomach for the people that try to take care of the senior citizens in our area since 1972.
"You go out you assess someone, you see they need the service but you say we can’t provide this right now until an opening becomes available,” she said.
Last spring, LOA got word that funding would be cut by $95,000. Months later, that number turned into $110,000. They also went from serving as many as 650 people to now 575 people.
The program has also stopped handing out emergency meals because of those budget cuts.
Senior citizens used to receive bagged meals which were handed out in advance of snowstorms and holidays.
Just last week, they ran into this problem as they couldn't make deliveries because of the snow.
If you’d like to donate or volunteer your time to deliver food, call LOA at 345-0454 and mention that you saw this story or CLICK HERE.