Originally created 01/06/02

Elderly hard hit by Augusta budget



People are concerned about our parks, animals and museums. Guess who's been overlooked? Our senior citizens.

I've worked 17 years with The Senior Citizens Council Transportation of the Elderly (TOTE). Low-income seniors are transported to medical appointments. As of Jan. 1, 2002, they now must pay a fee. Some who have been riding for 20 to 25 years were taken off. We're now just transporting the more critical clients (on dialysis).

Meals on Wheels and the nutrition program are also in jeopardy. Most of these clients are on Supplemental Security Income not Social Security. Some are transported to our senior centers, which face closings for financial reasons - the fallout of Sept. 11. The money just isn't there, and our vans need replacing.

Again, up until the year 2002, our senior and handicapped clients could ride for a donation. Some don't have family and other's families work. TOTE is the oldest transportation system in Augusta, and we're hurting.

I love animals, going to the park and museum, but let's take care of our elderly and handicapped first. We should not place more importance on animals, etc., than we do on people.

Keep us in your prayers.

Larry Watkins, Augusta