Published: Mon, March 27, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Local Meals on Wheels will survive proposed cuts

Some Meals on Wheels programs could see a cut in federal funding, that's if President Trump's budget proposals are passed. "Since Thursday morning, we've received more than $160,000 in online donations", says Jenny Bertolette, vice president for communications for the national group - which speaks on behalf of local programs and advocates for seniors, but does not itself deliver meals. The Ellwood City program serves an estimated 50 people within a 5-mile radius of Ellwood City Hospital.

CDBG money is distributed according to a formula based on population and other measures of need.

I resent Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's blatant attack on Meals on Wheels as a worthless program. It plans to use the money to fund awareness campaigns, among other things. In short, we will be hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

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

Meals on Wheels of central IN doesn't receive any federal funding.

In January, Holscher said the hot meals program was ending because of many contributing factors including ongoing budget cuts, fewer client donations, difficulty hiring delivery drivers and changes to the program's grant and claiming process.

Those who receive meals are asked to make a donation, although those who can not pay are not denied service.

In a similarly ill-advised vein, Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, seemed to suggest last week that Meals on Wheels is one of those programs that "sounds great", but is "just not showing any results".

Rawls said if their budget were cut in any way, it would drastically impact the senior community. If Congress cuts that funding, it would be "devastating", he said.

The local nonprofit is now in the process of transitioning from warm meal delivery to a frozen meal program after more than 30 years of delivering hot-cooked meals prepared in an industrial kitchen in Ferdinand.

And unlike some Meals on Wheels chapters nationwide, Almeida says she hasn't seen an increase in donations since the Trump budget was announced. "For us that would mean a loss of about $200,000". She said her town counts on federal and state dollars to help.

One of those is Bernie Granda, a gay man who has been a Meals on Wheels of San Francisco client for three years.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering, please visit the Meals on Wheels America website to find out how you can help and to find your local Meals on Wheels program. "The problem with that is most people who call and need to get meals, it's not something that can wait, especially if they are in a crisis situation".

Seniors served by Meals on Wheels say it has proven invaluable to them.

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