Meals on Wheels not expecting funding cut impact locally

Mar 27, 2017, 00:41

The Trump budget calls for a 17.9 percent cut in funding for this program's parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and it is quite possible Meals on Wheels could be affected.

In light of proposed cuts to federal funding for Meals on Wheels, the Parker County Committee on Aging (PCCoA) encouraged the community to support their local program at the March for Meals 5k walk Saturday.

The Lancaster program - which serves roughly half of the county map -has five part-time and three full-time staff members. Most of those savings would have come from reductions in the need for nursing home care. That number would increase dramatically if the president's budget plans are approved.

Oneida County Director on Aging Dianne Jacobson notes Meals on Wheels is the copyrighted name of an organization that does home delivered meals, but in Wisconsin, every county is designated to have a home delivered meal program. "To the best of my knowledge so far, we don't have any definite planned cuts that we've been informed of yet".

"What they have been talking about won't affect us", Cross said.

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In a statement, Meals on Wheels America said that some local programs rely on the block grant funds. "But to take the federal money and give it to the states and say, "Look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work" - I can't defend that anymore". With the programs in North Dakota totaling $8.86 million, $2.58 million was covered by federal funds. Heidi Heitkamp worry Meals on Wheels in North Dakota still could be in danger in light of White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's comments.

"I have mixed feelings about that", Summey said of the proposed federal budget cuts.

Ossining Supervisor Dana Levenberg said the cuts would be catastrophic to nutrition programs for seniors. He says at the local level, the program costs a lot, but it's more than just a meal. "Right now, we don't have waiting lists for any of our services, but if there are significant cuts, we will have to do that". And then there are the lives Meals on Wheels has saved by delivering air conditioners during heat waves or simply by giving the elderly someone to talk to for a moment.

Seniors tell me they play pinochle and other games in addition to eating a hot meal. But such trials are hard to do, they're expensive, and funding for them seems to be going down, not up. Clients will be writing what Meals on Wheels means to them on paper plates that will be delivered to politicians in Washington, D.C.

California Democrat Linda Sanchez said the Trump administration is "literally taking food away from seniors", and even Florida Republican Gus Bilirakis is said to have helped Meals and Wheels deliver food to seniors.

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