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Geronimo nutrition site in jeopardy

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GERONIMO, Okla_Like many other senior citizen nutrition sites in Southwest Oklahoma, the center in Geronimo is in danger of closing down.

The Delta Nutrition Program, which oversees Geronimo's site, announced last month that their center and several others were in danger of closing because of federal budget cuts. Geronimo's center sees about 18 seniors per day, which is not enough to keep it open.  But some of the center's employees and the seniors who visit say they're still fighting for it.

Geronimo's nutrition center has been feeding local seniors since 1988. It's managed to stay open from grants and a $2 daily admission fee for visiting seniors. That $2 is all most of them can afford. The center just received a $3,800 ASCOG grant for the 2012-2013 fiscal year but center officials say they're worried that it may be their last.

Dorothy McNabb has been coming to Geronimo's nutrition center for the past two years. She said the women have become a part of her family. So when she heard that a place she calls her second home may close, she was worried.

"I was so upset, I just can't imagine us not having a place to go everyday. We would miss so much. The whole community, they were very saddened."

She said the center offers seniors a way to stay active and socialize. Not to mention, gain access to nutritious foods.

"It is not like I cook at home. Where, we would just have leftovers and leftovers of the same thing. You get a variety of food each day."

Site manager Joanie Sutton said the reason this center is on the chopping block is because not enough seniors are coming in each day. At least, not when compared to larger cities like Lawton but she said those figures are skewed.

"We are a smaller community. So my numbers are going to be low. Some of them still work over 60, so they can't make it up here from 8 to 1."

Sutton said that in the last year, at least five more seniors have been coming in per day. Time will tell if that increase will be enough to stay open. But for the Geronimo community, this center means everything.

"We do puzzles, we do painting, we do crafts, I started a library and they take books out. If the center wasn't here, I don't know what they would do. Some of them I would be afraid they would just pass on because they are not busy."

Sutton said she has been talking with the Geronimo City Council to come up with other ways to fund the center, such as grants and fundraisers.

The Delta Nutrition Center said they will make a decision on which sites in Southwest Oklahoma will close October 9th.

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