ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Senior citizens can currently get free hot meals Monday through Friday at the Rose Park Senior Center, but that might not last for long.
“It’s harder to be able to cook all the time, when you’re older you don’t want to cook,” said John Carlson, Abilene senior citizen.
To make up for lost revenue from the pandemic, the city is considering charging seniors $2.50 per meal.
But there are some mixed opinions from the wiser community members about the proposal. Debbie Antilley, senior citizen, says she’s worried about others.
“That’s an affordable price, but a lot of the folks who come here probably can’t afford that,” she says.
Antilley says she comes every day for her and her mother.
“We donate, not every day, but we usually donate once a month, probably 20 bucks,” said Antilley.
So now a free meal would cost Debbie and her mom $25 a week.
Susie Lozano, senior citizen, says her family needs the meals.
“My mother is homebound, so she needs this meal, and my dad is the caretaker for my mom, and it’s just very much needed,” said Lozano.
But the fees could impact their ability to receive a warm meal.
“At times we would be able to pay it, at times we wouldn’t,” said Lozano.
Senior citizen Frances Sooter says people should already be paying.
“$2.50, you can’t even get a soda in a drive through hardly for $2.50, much less a wonderful meal,” said Sooter.
While Sooter says she understands that some people may not be able to afford it, she is confident that the senior center would be able to help them.
“There’s a lot of people who just take it for granted and know that nobody’s going to tell them they need to put money in. How can you fix meals day after day for 400 people and not come out with a budget deficit? You have to,” said Sooter.
Even though the meals are free, most citizens donate for an estimated $65,000 a year, but if they charge the $2.50, it would generate $250,000 a year.