Friday, March 17, 2017

Trump Budget Removes the Wheels from Meals on Wheels

The need is growing rapidly, and federal funding has not kept pace. The network 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, we fear that the millions of seniors who rely on us every day for a nutritious meal, safety check and visit from a volunteer will be left behind. -Statement from Meals on Wheels America
A few weeks ago, we posted a video created by Albuquerque Involved, featuring Shauna Frost, executive director of Meals on Wheels in Albuquerque, who said the organization serves over 500 people a day locally. Many of those clients have special medical needs, and Meals on Wheels prepares the meals accordingly. "We basically serve food and friendship, and we've done that for the past 45 years," Frost said in the video (which we reposted at the end of this blog piece).

The work of Meals on Wheels in Albuquerque and elsewhere is in major jeopardy. On Thursday, President Donald Trump released his  Budget Blueprint, also known as the “skinny budget,” to Congress with a plan to release further details in the coming months. The blueprint focuses on discretionary spending levels for Fiscal Year 2018, and makes investments in defense programs, paid for through deep cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, such as Meals on Wheels.

"The portions of the President’s Budget that have been released so far call for the elimination of a number of federal programs, including the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), on which some local Meals on Wheels programs rely to deliver nutritious meals, safety checks and friendly visits to our nation’s most vulnerable seniors," said Meals on Wheels America. Here is a post that the organization sent on Twitter on Thursday.

A Place at the Table denounced the cuts. "Support for working Americans is...on the chopping block, and will almost certainly be the next target," said Tom Colicchio, a leader in the anti-hunger organization. "There has never been a time when it’s more important to stand together and demand our leaders take action."

"Our leaders need to fight to end hunger now, not cut vital nutrition programs," said Colicchio. "The last thing policymakers should be doing right now is making life harder for people who don't have enough food to eat. Let’s make sure they know where we stand."

A Place at the Table is providing this link for people to send a message to Congress.

And here is a repost of the video of Meals on Wheels Albuquerque.

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