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      Seniors stage paper plate protest

      Rose Kurfman signs a protest plate at the Hannibal Nutrition Center.

      An avalanche of paper plates is not enough to stop the federal government from tumbling over the financial cliff, but it may get lawmakers to take notice of their constituents.

      Missouri's Area Agencies on Aging are staging a paper plate protest. They're sending in tens of thousands of plates to federal lawmakers asking that funding not be cut for senior meal programs.

      In Hannibal alone, seniors signed about 1,800 paper plates that were mailed out Monday to this area's congress members and senators. The seniors wrote messages on the plates. One senior pointed out that as taxpayers, we fund many of the meals served on Capitol Hill. She accused the lawmakers of taking food from the mouths of seniors who also pay taxes.

      Another 93-year-old Hannibal woman is the primary care giver for her 80-year-old brother who's dying of cancer. She said the-home delivered meal program is keeping them both alive.

      Yet another senior on a fixed income explained how she gets $12 a month in food stamps. Without meals on wheels , she would have no other food at home.

      Senior meal programs have suffered cuts on the state, federal and local levels in recent years. The danger now is the so-called fiscal cliff. If Washington can't agree on terms, the entire senior meal program will be shut down.