Wait-lists for Meals on Wheels may increase with federal budget cuts

A proposal to cut federal funding for the meals on wheels program has many local seniors anxious and asking questions.

Actually, how the meal programs are funded is kind of complicated.

This could have a dramatic effect on the local program in the Metro.

"I would hate to say we couldn't give them anything", Almeida says.

She has rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling disease that's made the simple task of opening a can of veggies impossible.

"I'd hate to think about it not being here because they do need it, there's a lot of them that need it, so it would just be heartbreaking", said Overton.

In 2015, the local Meals on Wheels service delivered 172,580 meals in the six-county area it services.

Elected officials help with meal deliveries as part of the week, which the organization says is a way to experience firsthand the impact such services have.

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The Navajo-Hopi Observer visited Winslow's Council on Aging to see their Meals on Wheels program. It operates seven meal sites in Olathe, Delta, Cedaredge, Hotchkiss, Paonia, Norwood and Nucla, plus delivers meals three days a week to people 60 and older who have been assessed as housebound.

Herzberg adds, "there's just no way this program should even be considered for cutting". "We are not Meals on Wheels, so we're not going to lose any of that money".

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.

The president of Senior Citizens, Inc. says they stretch whatever funding they get, whether through local, state, federal or private donors. The fate of some of the other sources of funding for Meals on Wheels is unknown at this time. And that keeps them feeling alive.

Volunteers are the only people many seniors see in a week. The program serves food to thousands of people, many of whom are seniors who are homebound and in need. We should stand up and support such programs that do real good in our communities and assist our friends and neighbors.

You might have heard a lot of talk in the national media lately about Meals on Wheels programs and the support they receive through federal grants.

McGuire said Gov. Rick Snyder is proposing an increase to the Meals on Wheels Program. "That is our goal, that is our mission to bring you a hot meal each day", said Ray.


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