Caring Politics

Council on Aging responds to cuts in Meals on Wheels

March 16, 2017

Today, President Trump sent his Budget Blueprint, also known as a “skinny budget,” to Congress with a plan to release further details in the coming months. This blueprint, which focuses on discretionary spending for Fiscal Year 2018, includes steep decreases to many non-defense programs, including the elimination of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs, which currently help fund Council on Aging of West Florida’s popular Meals on Wheels program.

Locally, Meals on Wheels delivers almost 130,000 meals to nearly 500 senior citizens throughout the year. Many of these aging adults are homebound and cannot care for themselves like they once could. Meals on Wheels not only provides much-needed nutrition and sustenance, but companionship and a chance for social service agencies to check in with clients.

“Meals on Wheels is a program that serves a vital need for homebound, disabled and vulnerable aging adults,” said John Clark, President and CEO of Council on Aging. “The program is largely comprised of volunteers who donate their time and transportation to alleviating hunger in our senior community. This is not a government agency bloated with bureaucracy whose cuts would benefit the tax-payer; Meals on Wheels is fully dedicated to the client and in fact helps Americans avoid the far greater cost of caring for these individuals in a nursing home or retirement community.”

The highly efficient and popular program needs increased funding and participation, not less. There are almost 500 elderly people on waiting lists in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties who need the services of Meals on Wheels. Nationwide, the need is growing rapidly as well, and federal funding has not kept pace. Meals on Wheels is already serving 23 million fewer meals now than in 2005, and waiting lists are mounting in every state. At a time when increased funding is needed, millions of seniors who rely on the program every day for a nutritious meal, safety check and visit from a volunteer will be left behind.

“The problem with a skinny budget is it is lean on details. So, while we don’t know the exact impact yet, cuts of any kind to these highly successful and leveraged programs would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America, which in turn saves billions of dollars in reduced healthcare expenses” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO Meals on Wheels America.

For more information on how you can volunteer, contribute or speak out for the seniors in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and across the country, visit coawfla.org.

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  • Bill McBride March 20, 2017 at 8:29 am

    The irony is that Trump voters in red states will fare much worse than other groups. Irony and empathy are two characteristics lost on Donald Trump.

  • Ames March 18, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    More cuts coming…
    http://lifehacker.com/these-agencies-would-end-under-trumps-budget-1793351208

  • L. Laird March 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Republicans and Trump have one way to solve health care/ and people going hungry: If sick?, hurry up and die/ if hungry? hang out on the street corners in front of a good church, who all support Trump, and beg for food,,make sure you wear you red Trump hat…#$%^&*() 78% of the Escambia voters, voted for this evil person/ President. But maybe, God is on his side, not on the poor, sick, and hungry….

  • Ames March 17, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Mariah…
    From Slate…
    “White House budget director Mick Mulvaney held a press conference Thursday afternoon to defend the administration’s new spending blueprint, which has been criticized for making draconian cuts to everything from environmental protection to aid for the elder poor, all in order to direct more funding to the Defense Department. There’s been a particularly furious reaction to its request that Congress eliminate funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, which many states use to fund Meals on Wheels, among other popular initiatives.
    After a reporter brought up the Meals on Wheels controversy, Mulvaney at first tried to subtly evade the question. But then, as is the wont of this administration, he fell head over glutes explaining that while Meals on Wheels “sounds great,” the administration couldn’t keep wasting money on programs like it that “don’t work.” As in, feeding the elderly apparently isn’t showing strong enough empirical benefits to merit continued federal spending by this White House, which is now deeply wedded to evidence-based policymaking.”

  • EPenn March 17, 2017 at 9:50 am

    The president spoke on the topic of “Meals on Wheels” and stated “the program has not produced any results”… Elderly, shut-in people not starving to death is a pretty good result to me, I guess he has a different standard… UGH….

  • Mariah March 16, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    This has not happened. Money matters originate in the House. This is projecting a worst case scenario to stir the masses. When you live by the grant, you are beholden to the Grantor.

  • ggh March 16, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    How you liking the “prez” now?