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Archive for Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Budget shortfalls mean some senior citizens in the state are going hungry

Rick Regan is on a hunger strike to bring awareness to the issue of senior citizens going hungry. He was at the Lawrence Senior Center Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010, where he stopped for the one meal he gets each day at senior centers he is visiting around the state. Meals site coordinator Kathryn Newman is pictured helping Regan with his meal.

Rick Regan is on a hunger strike to bring awareness to the issue of senior citizens going hungry. He was at the Lawrence Senior Center Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010, where he stopped for the one meal he gets each day at senior centers he is visiting around the state. Meals site coordinator Kathryn Newman is pictured helping Regan with his meal.

February 24, 2010

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Senior meal program managers across the state are being forced to make a tough decision: who goes hungry and who doesn’t.

Count Douglas County Senior Meals’ Manager Kim Wittman among them.

Kim Wittman is the Douglas County Senior Meals Manager

Kim Wittman is the Douglas County Senior Meals Manager

Facing a $15,000 budget shortfall this year, she and a task force decided to no longer provide frozen meals on weekends. Twenty-nine residents were affected.

How to help

Douglas County Senior Meals can use volunteers for everything from packing food to cleaning dishes. It also needs home-delivery drivers who can take regular routes or substitute for regular drivers.

If interested in volunteering or receiving a meal, contact Kim Wittman, manager, at 842-0543.

“The decision was hard,” Wittman said. “The folks who were affected really depended on our meals for their base nutrition. They are individuals who don’t have a lot of family support around them and have difficulty preparing meals for themselves.”

But, it was that decision or affecting more residents by starting waiting lists.

Last year, the program provided 65,557 meals through dining or home delivery services. Anyone 60 or older is eligible to receive one meal per weekday. On average, the program feeds about 260 residents per day.

Wittman said she is facing the possibility of a $35,000 shortfall next year.

Statewide, these programs have lost $1.2 million in funding or 221,811 meals. It has affected 880 seniors.

Rick Regan, a Wichita radio personality, has been on a weeklong tour to raise awareness about the issue. He serves on the board of Aging Projects Inc., a Wichita area-based senior agency, that has made that same tough decision.

He stopped Wednesday at the Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt.

“Seniors have paid their dues. We are talking about the people who have fought for our country. They’ve fed and clothed all of us,” Regan said. “Letting Grandma and Grandpa go hungry, that can’t happen.”

Comments

jeremyhay 3 years, 4 months ago

"Senior meal program managers across the state are being forced to make a tough decision: who goes hungry and who doesn’t."

And this in a country that spends more on the military than the rest of world in total!

Maybe the money spent on a few military bases on the other other side of the world could be spent instead on giving American pensioners enough to eat?

Or maybe the US could just survive with just one fewer aircraft carrier? The US has all of 11 - no other country has more than 2.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 1 month ago

In my family we have three generations of good cooks. I have degenerative joint disease plus some other things that make it painful for me to stand and prepare meals. I compensate by eating a lot of salad which I can prepare in a large bowl and then eat all week. I also make casseroles and large batches of food which I then microwave. I know how lucky I am to have a daughter who does give me a lot of help with all of this. Every now and then she comes by and gives the apartment a good cleaning which leaves me with the light work. Since I am 4' 11" and my balance is precarious I really appreciate her cleaning the upper cabinets and such. I am well aware that there are many who do not have a family as close as mine. I would also like to state that the granddaughter and grandson also help out from time to time. We have been though so much in our family, but now we are always there for each other when it is really needed, and that is all that counts. The grace of God has sustained my family and brought us though some tough times and I am very grateful. I would ask people to make a real effort to be understanding toward those who are alone and miserable. Where would these people go if they had to leave their homes and apartments? Nursing home? The majority of these are understaffed and run so badly they might be better off staying where they are.

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Steven Gaudreau 4 years, 1 month ago

Ignorant comments like "learn to cook" or "plan better" really showcases your stupidity. I delivered meals as a volunteer for several years. Most of the elderly I served were living in poor conditions, 100 degrees in the house because no a/c, and individuals who were not mentally or physically capable of taking care of themselves and had no family to help (not everyone is a breeder). Others had dietary restrictions. Not all of the folks were poor and helpless and I would assume the less needy were the ones cut from the program.
The rude comments and poor attitudes towards our elderly helps promote the moral decay of our society and how many bottom feeders live among us. Some parents out their have or are raising a generation of lazy, self gratifying, a**holes. I understand it’s not the child’s fault they turned out to be scumbags, it’s their parents (or lack of). For the sake of our future, please remain celebit.

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pace 4 years, 1 month ago

I would prefer to work on the legislators, encouraging them to close the loopholes to their "special" corporations and friends and do better by the assisted living programs. When someone begrudges someone a meal in this country and instead advocates giving special favors to their porky friends they need not be reelected.

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bennyoates 4 years, 1 month ago

Liberty275 (anonymous) says... My last two years as an undergrad I lived on ramen (the bag kind) and mayonnaise sandwiches. If push comes to shove, I can live on $4 a week. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Congratulations, Mr. Rugged Individualist. You are indeed awesome and a role model. If more people were like you, we'd have fewer of these useless eaters. The worthless old fools should die, get out of the way, and stop being a burden on heroic types like yourself.

First, you're almost certainly exaggerating to the point of outright lying. Second, so what if you did survive on that? So what if you're telling the full truth? Your own diet has nothing to do with the issue at hand and thank goodness you aren't the one making decisions about the well being and dignity of these people.

Also, you object to paying taxes because of the meager amount that goes to social services you dislike because you have persuaded yourself that you are feeding and clothing people. More self-flattery on your part; more stupidity. You and your precious wages are not that important.

I'd like to see how long you'd survive in the kind of laissez-faire free market fantasy world that you see as ideal--not very damned long, that's for sure. But you might get your chance sooner than you think.

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macon47 4 years, 1 month ago

those old people should move to haiti thats were the lawrence folks are sending thier money it is cooler to support folks out of the usa than in your own town

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georgiahawk 4 years, 1 month ago

What? Are we our brothers keepers? Can't we just decrease the surplus population without all of this guilt? I mean if someone makes a mistake by trying to stay alive today and can't save for tomorrow, how much are they contributing to society anyway? All you sympathy givers are making a mistake by allowing the other side to humanize the problem. Surely the newly redifined conservative pro-free market Jesus would agree with me!

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jackbinkelman 4 years, 1 month ago

"Food for thought, what about all the food grocery stores throw away. Imagine that? All those past 'sell by" dates"......What about our dinner tables.. the leftovers could feed an army.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 1 month ago

no3of5, interesting concept, donating. But remember this is Douglas county where everything if free or nothing.

Lawrence could even have a restaurant like Oskaloosa does where seniors can go eat and order from the menu and pay something like a couple of bucks, isn't it? Of course the restaurant gets a subsidy as well, but it is less than the whole meals delivered.

The real problem is finding delivery drivers for the meals.

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rgh 4 years, 1 month ago

Most of the comments here are great and have some value. There are couple that make me sick. I'm nearly 50 now and my father lived alone and passed away nearly 6 years ago. At that time he was physically handicapped and couldn't get out of the house certain days.

He had three three children and the closest lived 3+ hours away and worked full time (as did myself and my other sibling). It wasn't a matter of money as we were able to provide for our father financially. To say children don't care is horrible. What about the elderly who don't have children at all or not capable of caring for their beloved parent(s).

With limited and fixed income it was also impossible to "Stock" the fridge with extra as one person stated early on. There are some good ideas worth considering here but to place blame on the elderly and/or their children makes me sad and makes me angry. Walk in my shoes sometime and then post. It does anger me that those capable of finding employment or helping themselves don't do it, but it also angers me that some stereotype all of those who cannot fend for themselves in the same light.

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matahari 4 years, 1 month ago

Food for thought, what about all the food grocery stores throw away. Imagine that? All those past 'sell by" dates

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rodentgirl16 4 years, 1 month ago

gbulldog,

My grandmother was an excellent cook, but she became so weak that even the simplest cooking was a real challenge for her. She wanted to stay in her house so she hid the fact that she was having trouble cooking for herself and needed help from my aunts and uncles, which in turn made her weaker because she wasn't eating enough and was diabetic. Many elderly people would rather die than give up their independence or ask for help. Maybe you should volunteer for Meals on Wheels to gain a realistic perspective of the situation that many elderly people face.

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justfornow 4 years, 1 month ago

Everybody could stand to lose a few pounds.

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not_that_crazy 4 years, 1 month ago

There but for the grace of God of go I..... I am going to start being nicer to kids right now in hopes that one of them might hang around and help me a little.

Seriously, food is a basic, basic NEED. School buildings, depots, etc, etc, etc are special interest wants. This should be a community and neighborhood priority.

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Liberty275 4 years, 1 month ago

"This and similar situations expose the contradiction of conservatism"

I'm not a conservative, but I fall into the conservative camp on this issue. If I work 40 hours a week, the money for that labor is mine. The government takes part, some of which I'm ok with; national defense, infrastructure etc.

Social programs are a different story. I have no desire to feed and clothe people I'm not related to or don't know and consider friends. If wanting to keep the fruit of your own labor is greedy, then count me in. Except I gladly offer help to my family and friends, sometimes to the point that my wife and I do without.

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WHY 4 years, 1 month ago

Looks to me like Rick needs to go without eating for a month or so. Fatty is mad about a food shortage? Quit hogging it all and there would be more to go around.

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George_Braziller 4 years, 1 month ago

Yes. More than you would think. I do a few hours of attendant work each week for one of them.

I also had an elderly neighbor I would help out with things around her apartment because her only child would have nothing to do with her. She has since died, but at the time it had been seven years she had seen her daughter and during that entire time they had only spoken by phone twice.


Godot (anonymous) says... Are there that many elderly in Kansas whose children do not care about them?

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Liberty275 4 years, 1 month ago

"Yeah, I am certain the elderly wouldn't have any problem at all with a diet that consists of nothing but sodium and saturated fat. A diet of ramen would kill most elderly."

Everyone dies.

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gatekeeper 4 years, 1 month ago

gbulldog (anonymous) says... My mother taught me how to cook. Are people so inept that they are incapable of preparing even the simplest meal. If they don't know how, teach them. If they don't have the equipment, help them acquire it. If they are physically unable to do it, is it safe for them to be living alone? If you teach a person to cook, they will have a healther meals, be able to teach others to cook, and have the pleasure of accomplishing something positive in their life. Help those that are in need help themselves. Do away with helping corporations making money selling products that are rising obesity and increasing health problems for all people, including the ones in need. ////

Yeah, that's the real problem - old people can't cook. What an idiot. There are people like my mother who has terrible arthritis and standing to cook is very hard for her. She also cares for my father. My sister and I prepare lots of meals that she can then throw in the oven when needed so she doesn't have to be in terrible pain trying to cook 2-3 times a day. Yes, it is safe for them to be living alone. But when you get older, some chores are harder to do. Do you suggest that all elderly people that need some assistance should be put in nursing homes?

You can tell the people that have elderly parents or have cared for the elderly and the idiots that have no clue what it's like to get old and need help. I only hope you will have someone or some agency that can help you when you are elderly.

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lindseydoyle 4 years, 1 month ago

"Rick Regan is on a hunger strike......one meal he gets each day at senior centers."

Sounds more like a diet to me.

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pace 4 years, 1 month ago

The legislature needs to be retooled. Get the tools out and humans in.

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gccs14r 4 years, 1 month ago

If we had a proper national healthcare system, people wouldn't be bankrupted by illness or injury (or robbed blind by private insurers) and we'd have a lot fewer poor seniors.

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gbulldog 4 years, 1 month ago

My mother taught me how to cook. Are people so inept that they are incapable of preparing even the simplest meal. If they don't know how, teach them. If they don't have the equipment, help them acquire it. If they are physically unable to do it, is it safe for them to be living alone? If you teach a person to cook, they will have a healther meals, be able to teach others to cook, and have the pleasure of accomplishing something positive in their life. Help those that are in need help themselves. Do away with helping corporations making money selling products that are rising obesity and increasing health problems for all people, including the ones in need.

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LoveThsLife 4 years, 1 month ago

Chic- Your comment reminds me of something I saw back east.

Back east where we moved from a local church provided a nursery room for CPS to have a once a week daycare for small children whose parents needed to take care of things to comply with their court orders. Other churches in the area would often share in the responsibility of bringing an afternoon meal and snack.

I thought it was nice that community involvement fulfilled a need and the only tax money that was used was for the assistant social worker that was responsible for the program...everything else even the extra help was volunteer.

I think this is a situation where there is a need and the local community-through various organizations could meet a need.

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flux 4 years, 1 month ago

The Lawrence farmers market is the solution to all of the citys problems

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barrypenders 4 years, 1 month ago

In the old days, when an old woman's teeth wore down too much to soften hides for clothing, they were left along the game trail with their favorite personal item, to die.

Stimulus, Honorable Death, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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LoveThsLife 4 years, 1 month ago

"My last two years as an undergrad I lived on ramen (the bag kind) and mayonnaise sandwiches."

Liberty that comment brought back memories, but also made me want to hurl. I did eat a lot of ramen, but mayo sandwiches? I don't think I could have handled that.

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Jeanne Cunningham 4 years, 1 month ago

Would it be possible to put together a list of people who need meals and allow others in that neighborhood to check on them and provide meals if needed? I know there are all kinds of associated security issues, but surely those can be addressed.

The concept of neighborhood is SO difficult today. I grew up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone else. I've lived in my current house for almost 30 years, but because many of my neighbors have come and gone during that time, keeping up on who is currently in close proximity who might be needing help is almost impossible without some agency to do the oversight and assist in making the connections. I know that sometimes it might be just noodle soup and a bologna sandwich, but that seems like a preferable alternative to going hungry and being alone.

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MyName 4 years, 1 month ago

Why it looks like the crazy people are out in force attacking the old people for their free meals. Are you guys gonna give up the proxy fight and start shaking granny down for her lunch money next week?

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parrotuya 4 years, 1 month ago

Even the most close-minded, know-nothing conserva-hards cannot successfully bash starving seniors. Reveal your true colors free-market loving conserva-hards. Show how cold and cruel you really are! It's a losing position.

DOWn, baby, DOWn!

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Gootsie 4 years, 1 month ago

Gosh redmoonrising, where are you with your pitiful life and no more meals on wheels? You and your parents have had thanksgiving off them for years (you said so yourself). And I would guess that you can afford all your meals, so I might suggest you stop taking from those who don't have the money and buy your own meals that you can afford.

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verity 4 years, 1 month ago

KRichards (anonymous) says... "Everyone relax-Just trying to get a rise out of people."

If that in fact is what you were doing, you are an even bigger jerk than I first thought.

About the level of a badly behaved third grader.

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Karrey Britt 4 years, 1 month ago

Just another note... Wittman gave an example of one couple who was affected. She said they have tapped into their family for as much as the family can provide. One of them has progressive Alzheimer's disease, and it is very difficult for the caregiver to do much of anything, but care for his loved one.

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Multidisciplinary 4 years, 1 month ago

Nurnberg, everything is part of the Grand Illusion. Most people just haven't had enough of their illusions destroyed to recognize that yet.

Godot (anonymous) says...

Are there that many elderly in Kansas whose children do not care about them?

Yes. If you get involved with various community groups, you'll find scores of parents whose children have moved far away, become estranged, gotten into a bad scene..and the parent (s) is alone. And it's growing worse with more drug use. Loads of people in nursing homes with no visitors at all, no contact from the children. Unfortunately, many moms outlive their husbands and sons since the sons often end up having a heart attack before the mom dies. And then you have the high number of daughters that are post divorce and struggling themselves who would love to help but have insufficient funds to do so. And sometimes they might want to do more but the parent prefers to live alone, not move in with them which is the only help they can offer.

If you read the obits, you'll see those who are the last survivor when they die.

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Karrey Britt 4 years, 1 month ago

If you would like to donate money or food, I suggest calling Kim Wittman at 842-0543. Even better, send her an e-mail at kwittman@sunflower.com. There's a direct link on the Douglas County Senior Meals' Web page and more information http://www.dgcoseniorservices.org/meals07.html. Not only can Wittman use money, but volunteers. I think it's great that this community is working to find a solution, so these people don't go hungry.

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Karrey Britt 4 years, 1 month ago

If you would like to donate money or food, I suggest calling Kim Wittman at 842-0543. Even better, send her an e-mail at kwittman@sunflower.com. There's a direct link on the Douglas County Senior Meals' Web page and more information http://www.dgcoseniorservices.org/meals07.html. Not only can Wittman use money, but volunteers. I think it's great that this community is working to find a solution, so these people don't go hungry.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 1 month ago

Not saying that we shouldn't help other countries, but if we can send millions and billions of dollars to help haiti, why can't we help the people in our country who are poor, hungry, or sick?

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mom_of_three 4 years, 1 month ago

trol - plan as much as you want for your future, but you can't predict what will happen. Can't predict how long you will live, what illnesses you may get, and what catastrophes will happen in your life. Can't predict that you will outlive your children or the government forgets you while they send help to haiti and other countries.

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flux 4 years, 1 month ago

They need to start eating all the mystery food wrapped in foil that they have hoarded in the back of the freezer

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Nurnberg 4 years, 1 month ago

Government insurance scams are failing miserably. The jig is up, the welfare state is an illusion.

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Nurnberg 4 years, 1 month ago

What is so special about the cheesemakers?

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Keith Richards 4 years, 1 month ago

Everyone relax-Just trying to get a rise out of people. It worked. If it was my real name, do you really think I would have posted something like that?

Of course the elderly deserve food and appropriate care.

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notjustyoureverydayaveragetrol 4 years, 1 month ago

I guess somebody should have planned for their future a little better rather then relying on handouts

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number3of5 4 years, 1 month ago

I see a lot of comments and ideas here. My opinion is that 30 or so people need to donate 2 frozen dinners each week to fill this gap. I am 65 and disabled, I live in Jefferson county, and I would be willing to donate two such meals. Can 29 more step up and do the same?

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number3of5 4 years, 1 month ago

I see a lot of comments and ideas, but the simplest in my opinion, is for 30 or so people to donate 2 more frozen meals for these people. I live in Jefferson county but I am sure that I could create 2 frozen dinners for these elderly people who cannot do it for themselves. Just give me a menu for one person's dietary needs and I will create two meals a week with no problem. Can just 29 more step forward and do the same.

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number3of5 4 years, 1 month ago

I see a lot of comments and ideas, but the simplest in my opinion, is for 30 or so people to donate 2 more frozen meals for these people. I live in Jefferson county but I am sure that I could create 2 frozen dinners for these elderly people who cannot do it for themselves. Just give me a menu for one person's dietary needs and I will create two meals a week with no problem. Can just 29 more step forward and do the same.

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kansasmom 4 years, 1 month ago

This is not about politics - its about helping those in need. You can be selfish all you want or call it whatever but it is true. Like I said, as long as something doesn't effect you its ok.

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kernal 4 years, 1 month ago

KRichards, when I think of the elderly, it's people in their 80's & 90's who retired 20-30 years ago when it was an entirely different world. None of us thought we would see interest rates so low again and were optimistic we had learned our lesson after the Great Depression. They did save and they saved better than any generation since. But medical costs have skyrocketed, Social Security had to quit "cost of living" increases and earnings on savings plummeted. In the mid 1970's a person could live comfortably on $10,000 a year which would come from $100,000 CD @10%APR. And now? Ha! No way! I suspect you are in your early 20's, so typically you think you know everything, (like I did) but will learn as you get older how little you really do know. Think before you flap your jaws. Consumer1?Oh, puhleese. Can't you come up with something better than "biased professors". That's so trite.

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SnakeFist 4 years, 1 month ago

This and similar situations expose the contradiction of conservatism: capitalism is based on greed, so the notion of moral or compassionate capitalism (in which people donate their money to charity as an alternative to paying taxes to support public welfare programs) is self-contradictory. Conservatives simply do not care.

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kansasmom 4 years, 1 month ago

Another suggestion, as you are all doing your taxes and IF you are getting a tax refund whether its Federal or State, I challenge you to donate it to these agencies or the State. I don't think schools will even accept your donation, but I KNOW these agencies will. I think most people WILL NOT do it becaue you want it or think you NEED it. You don't really care about the budget shortfall and cuts - as long as it doesn't effect you. We don't need to raise taxes, we need for all people and all organizations to start living within their budget of NEEDS not WANTS!

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RogueThrill 4 years, 1 month ago

My last two years as an undergrad I lived on ramen (the bag kind) and mayonnaise sandwiches. If push comes to shove, I can live on $4 a week.

========

Yeah, I am certain the elderly wouldn't have any problem at all with a diet that consists of nothing but sodium and saturated fat. A diet of ramen would kill most elderly.

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kansasmom 4 years, 1 month ago

What I do not understand is how people can ban together to form "save our schools" campaigns and lobby at board meeting and town hall meetings about funneling millions of dollars back into or schools when there are so many other people that are hurting. It seems if we can raise that much money for the schools where is your heart for the elderly, disabled, etc? Why do you not realize that schools don't "need" the money. Go back to chalk boards or even white boards for a few years until things get turned around. Going hungry is a REAL need not just a want. So you say raise taxes?? Well, guess who's pocket this will really hurt? Those that are on fixed income like the elderly, disabled, etc. They aren't able to get a part time job or second full time job to help make ends meet. Younger people can. We need to take are of those that can't care for themselves. This is the time we need to donate more food to food pantries, help deliver meals and cut down on some of our WANTS to help those that are in NEED. From what I see schools don't NEED the $$ that bad, they just want it to make sure they get good ratings and stay current with times. Well guess what - our times have changed. To be a good hero is to do without for a little bit and help those in NEED!

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 1 month ago

The cruelty displayed here is astounding and how we treat the weak, the old, the sick and those in desperate situations defines our culture and our 'values. (See the Sermon on the Mount for details--good advice regardless of one's religion or lack thereof.) The Three Jewels of the Tao, compassion, moderation and humility also come to mind. The August primaries will tell the tale; if the tax-cutters/smaller government types prevail, we will see years of this. Government is 80-90% education and social services. There is not much else to cut except to continue the trend towards fewer schools, fewer classes offered at universities and, yes, more and more distressed elderly people.

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consumer1 4 years, 1 month ago

Kyle sorry to bust your early morning hatebubble, but, there is nothing rightwingy about her having her head up her backside. That particular attitude is shared by both parties. KRichards what exactly do you hate about elderly people? Sounds like you are twenty years old and have been taking your biased professors too literally.

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Liberty275 4 years, 1 month ago

My last two years as an undergrad I lived on ramen (the bag kind) and mayonnaise sandwiches. If push comes to shove, I can live on $4 a week.

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macon47 4 years, 1 month ago

too many of the grandparents are raising thier grand kids because thier own kids are degenerates, who would rather make babies than raise them

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Kyle Chandler 4 years, 1 month ago

And the biggest D-bag award goes to KRichards for exceptional Right-wingity and utmost selfishness!

and just before 7am

has to be a record

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Keith Richards 4 years, 1 month ago

How many of them have been siphoning much more than they paid into social security for years and years and probably quit working long before they should have, and didn'y properly save for retirement because they knew the public would provide their every need.

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toe 4 years, 1 month ago

Add babies, youth, young adult, middle age, teachers, and state workers to the hungry list.

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kernal 4 years, 1 month ago

Godot, I suspect some of them do not have children or have outlived their children. Some calls will be made tomorrow to see how/where donations can be sent; I'm sure LJW will be happy to print that info.

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edjayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Their children care about them but can't make ends meet themselves.

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Godot 4 years, 1 month ago

Are there that many elderly in Kansas whose children do not care about them?

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