"The City of Abilene has decided to respectfully decline the grant due to the number of changes and restrictions placed on the menus we could offer, which would have negatively affected the seniors we serve every day," said Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald. "We feel we are best positioned to make the decisions that impact our senior population. It's about maintaining local control of our programs, including our very successful senior meal program, without the restrictions imposed by the Federal government."
Restrictions that would have accompanied grant acceptance include:
- Removing salt shakers and condiments from the tables
- Little or no seasoning unless specified in the cooking process
- No butter, margarine or bread unless specified
- No substitutions or alterations in menu or cooking process
- No traditional holiday meals
- No whole or flavored milks; skim milk only
- Smaller entre portions (2 oz. vs. current 3-4oz. portions)
The City, which anticipated these changes while planning for the 2012 fiscal year, expects only a minimal impact to the budget. The Senior Citizens Division will continue to use the Texas model for healthy meals, which includes foods low in saturated fat, lower in sodium, whole grains for increased fiber and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The City of Abilene Senior Services Division prepares over 450 meals each weekday for Abilene seniors. Meals are served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, at Rose Park Senior Center, and Sears, Cobb, South Park (Chavez) and Daniels recreation centers. Donations are encouraged and accepted. For more information about the City of Abilene Senior Services Division, visit http://www.abilenetx.com/SrCitizensServices/index.htm.