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Cuts lead to closures of senior meal programs

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LEWISTON, Minn. (AP) -- Some three dozen of Minnesota's 502 congregate dining facilities for seniors are closing next week, the victim of federal budget cuts.

The sites aren't bringing in enough people to stay open. Most of those closing are in Greater Minnesota.

Jean Wood, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging, says providers have made alternative arrangements for seniors, including converting many to home-delivered meals. But she says closing a site is always hard and it takes time for folks to adjust.

Minnesota got $6.9 million last under the Older Americans Act, which funds senior programs including congregate and home-delivered meals, and other programs. That money was cut by nearly $500,000, about 7 percent, forcing regional agencies that distribute the money to close sites with declining populations.

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