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Safety net failing for many Florida senior citizens who are going hungry

When the bus that ferried him to a congregant lunch center for seniors lost its funding — a result of the automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration — Wencelao Gonzalez of Miami lost something, too: almost 10 pounds in less than two months.

“If I’m left alone, I have to remember to prepare something,” said the 78-year-old retired bakery plant worker. “I probably don’t eat so good.”

Gonzalez, who is diabetic and has Parkinson’s disease, now eats lunch at the federal hot meals program at the Olga Martinez Center in West Kendall only when he can find a ride.

The bus that carried him and about 25 other older adults to the center, one of 15 run by the Little Havana Activities and Nutrition Center, is not likely to be reinstated any time soon.

Stories like this one, senior advocates say, are all too common. At a time when the stock market has reached record highs and housing has rebounded, research shows that there are still plenty of people, many of them older adults, who are struggling. Some are going hungry. More from Ana Veciana-Suarez

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