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Published February 25, 2013, 09:07 PM

National budget cuts could affect how senior citizens get their meals

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We are getting a clearer picture of how automatic budget cuts could affect North Dakota and Minnesota. The White House says the $85 billion in cuts could take affect Friday.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We are getting a clearer picture of how automatic budget cuts could affect North Dakota and Minnesota. The White House says the $85 billion in cuts could take affect Friday.

One popular program that keeps seniors in their homes could be on the chopping block.

Inside the West Fargo high rise kitchen every day, comes a little magic; volunteers cooking up and packing away Meals on Wheels noon lunches for seniors around the city and Casselton.

If the cuts go through, a $200,000 loss would mean 50,000 fewer meals delivered to North Dakota seniors.

Brian Arett, Valley Senior Services: “The impact is real, it will be felt.”

The six counties in our region serve 4,000 seniors in our area, with the Meals on Wheels program allowing seniors to stay in their homes and out of costly nursing homes.

People like Pat Shaughnessy of West Fargo depends on the meal daily.

Pat Shauhnessy, West Fargo Resident: “I probably wouldn't eat.”

Arett: “It is nuts not to provide services to keep seniors in their home. The cost of keeping seniors in a nursing home, about $70,000 a year. Meals on Wheels, 4 bucks a day.”

While the state runs programs for seniors, the money comes from Washington, and the reason so many are concerned about the automatic cuts kicking in.

Other local programs targeted? Head Start, Military employees and state health departments.

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