Aiken Meals on Wheels short on funds

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News 12 First at Five; May 6, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. --- Everywhere you look, prices are rising and money is tight. Now, you can add feeding our senior citizens to that long list.

Beth Williams and her USC Aiken sociology class on aging saw an article in the newspaper about lack of meals for seniors. Now, they are out to make a change. News 12's Gene Petriello tagged along with her class today.

"At first, I was very shocked and amazed," says Shemeake Sims.

"Shocked and kind of sad," says Brianna Guy.

"I had a room of outraged students, needless to say. We were going to start the revolution right there," says Beth Williams.

No revolution, but Williams and her students are trying to turn things around.

"And actually see the world, realistically," says Beth.

They did that by serving up lunch for some Aiken County senior citizens on Tuesday.

"Senior adults are people and they have personalities all like any of us. They are in need," says Brianna.

In need of more activities and even more importantly, food. The problem the Council's Executive Director Scott Murphy and his team is dealing with is more seniors in the county, but the amount of money he's getting to serve up some meals is not getting larger.

"Just like babies need milk, senior citizens and our elders need food to eat to survive. It's their lives," says Shemeake.

So the students went to wash away the problem by going straight to lawmakers, politicians and more to help get the senior citizens more money. That's something they're glad to hear about.

"Very good. Very good. I like these kids. These kids are great," says Mattie Daniels.

"They are somebody's grandparents. They're all our family. We need to take care of them," says Brianna.

Seniors in college caring for their elder seniors and maybe they can try to float changes their way too.

"We can make a difference, even though the lawmakers tell us no. We can be the ones to make a difference," says Sims.

"I hope we made a difference and continue to make a difference in the work force," says Guy.

"They kind of surprised me this morning, but I enjoyed them. We love to have a lot of company around here," says Mattie.

All those students and those who work at the Council on Aging want to see more money soon.

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