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Oklahoma – Members’ Generosity Benefits Seniors

From the Heart Local 2739 Pres. Brian Green, left, and Vice Chair Terry Lanham, center, present a donation to Edmond Senior Center Manager Gail Deaton to help the senior lunch program.

Local 2739
From the Heart Local 2739 Pres. Brian Green, left, and Vice Chair Terry Lanham, center, present a donation to Edmond Senior Center Manager Gail Deaton to help the senior lunch program. (Photo credit: Rex Rogan)

Edmond, Oklahoma

When news spread that the city of Edmond would close its senior nutrition meal program because of state budget cuts, AFSCME members stepped up to the plate to keep the meals coming.

In December, members of what is now-called AFSCME Local 2739 donated $650 to the Edmond Senior Center lunch program, which serves approximately 65 hot meals three days a week.

“It’s the older, frailer citizens who come here,” says the center’s manager, Gail Deaton. “What we’ve found is many of them no longer live in their homes. Most are in assisted living centers, or live with a son or daughter. Few of them cook for themselves.”

Terry Lanham, Local 2739 vice president and the marketing coordinator for the Edmond Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the inspiration for AFSCME’s contribution came from city building inspector Larry Kellner, a steward and a member of the local’s executive board.

Kellner, an Edmond native, says he learned from news reports that the state would cut $173,000 from the Oklahoma County Senior Nutrition Program. Of Oklahoma County’s 27 senior nutrition sites, the Edmond facility would absorb approximately $53,000, enough to end the program. He knew something had to be done.

Wanting to help seniors “to repay them for all that they’ve done” for Edmond, Kellner decided to call Lanham and suggest the union help the Edmond seniors lunch program. The local’s executive board voted to make the contribution, earmarked for those who cannot pay the suggested donation of $2.50 per lunch.

Lanham and Local 2739 Pres. Brian Green presented the check to Deaton. “Senior citizens will always be a priority for our union,” says Green.

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