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Published January 10, 2012, 06:01 PM

Crookston Program Helping Seniors Needs More Participants

CROOKSTON, MN (WDAZ-TV) - A program helping seniors eat healthy in Crookston is having difficulties maintaining their budget.

CROOKSTON, MN (WDAZ-TV) - A program helping seniors eat healthy in Crookston is having difficulties maintaining their budget.

Those that regularly attend "Senior Meals" to eat lunch are hoping more people will start showing up to keep the doors open.

After 86-year-old Helen Kliner lost her husband in 2005, she found a place where friends are easily made.

"I just decided I wasn't going to eat by myself and I like the food that's here and I like the company," Kliner said.

"I know like Helen here said " If I didn't have this place," she says, "I'd probably die because I'd stay at home and not go anyplace." It's just a wonderful place," Golden Link Senior Assoc. President Donald Peterson said.

Lutheran Social Services Senior Meals at the Golden Link Senior Center in Crookston provides a healthy meal for people like Kliner, 5 days a week. But organizers have budget concerns because the numbers of seniors participating has dwindled.

"It's declined. When I first started 8, 9 years ago the room was full of 40 or 50 people and now we're down to two tables, like 15. A lot of it is because of the economic region we live in," Golden Link Senior Center Director Patty Dillabough said.

The cost for those 60 and older is $3.50 or whatever they can afford. Younger people pay the full $6.50 for a meal.

"We get our funding according to how many people are eating so it's really important," Lutheran Social Services Dining Manager Melanie Gilbertson said.

The program also delivers meals to those who cannot make it to the Senior Center. With a new menu, programs and events...organizers are hoping more people will start showing up so seniors like Kliner will still have a place to go.

"I think they should come here and be with the rest of us. I think it's very important to be with company," Kliner said.

"I've asked a lot of people to come down here and they say "i'm not ready for that yet." But you know they really don't know what they are missing," Peterson said.

Meals are served at the Golden Link Senior Center every weekday at noon, except Wednesdays when dinner is served at 5:30 p.m.

The Golden Link Senior Center is located at 324 North Main in Crookston.

If you would like more information you can call Patty at 218-281-3072 or Melanie at 218-281-6270.

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