Sequester threatens Akron-based meal delivery program that serves 2,500 daily

Mobile Meals seeks private funding, volunteers

AKRON, Ohio - Betty Smith misses cooking. But at 91 years old, she had to stop about six months ago.

"The last time I was trying to fix breakfast, fried potatoes and onions," she said. "I burnt the potatoes then the skillet caught on fire. So I quit. "

Smith doesn't get out of the house anymore either. She and her husband, Otis, have their meals delivered by Mobile Meals, an Akron-based Meals on Wheels agency that serves 2,500 elderly and disabled residents in Summit, Cuyahoga, Medina, Lorain and Portage counties everyday.

The agency learned this week that it stands to lose thousands of dollars due to those federal budget cuts called the sequester.

"It's going to cut into our ability to deliver meals, into our ability to purchase meals, just the whole operation," said Phil Marcin, the agency's development director. "There's no question about it.  We're going to give less service. We're going to have to."

Marcin said the agency would save $10,000 a year if it can fill three volunteer routes a day. He's also hoping to find additional sources of private funding.

Information on how you can help is located at www.mobilemealsinc.org .

Marcin said the agency serves some of the most vulnerable and fragile people in the community, like Betty and Otis Smith.

"We can't let them not get meals," he said. "We'll do something."

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