By Justin Lofton
ROFF—Budget woes in the state recently caused the legislature to cut funding to senior nutrition centers around the state. Many of those centers have shut down but in Roff, local residents are working hard to make sure seniors on small budgets have healthy meals and fellowship.
“When the government cut off our funds and Southern Oklahoma Nutrition Program had to shut us down,” said Phyllis Stark, who runs the nutrition center in Roff. “We didn’t want to shut down. We had a little bit of money in the bank. We thought, ‘Well, we’re going to try it for a while and see.’”
She said Roff residents were very supportive of the idea.
“The town just jumped in behind us. We’ve had donations. We’ve got volunteers and we’re still wide open,” she said.
Her husband, Jack Stark, does the deliveries and all the workers are volunteers, Phyllis Stark said. Roff resident Amy Byrd does most of the cooking.
Phyllis Stark said the town’s seniors are very appreciative of their efforts.
“(The seniors) are doing great,” she said. “It’s still mainly the ones that were coming before when Southern Oklahoma Nutrition Program had it but we’ve had a few new ones and a few that have dropped out.”
She said they serve between 28 and 32 senior citizens per day, including deliveries.
“Everybody says the food is a whole lot better,” she joked.
The nutrition center is open five days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m at the Roff Senior Citizens Center. Phyllis Stark said the center tries to keep the same schedule as the local school for days they will be closed.
She said the center is run by donations from several Roff businesses and individuals, including Techni Sand Inc., Oklahoma Heritage Bank and a local grain company.
“Everything has gone smooth,” she said. “People who eat here pay two dollars a meal if they have it. If they do not have it, we do not refuse anyone.”