Albany County executive tries to ease fears of 'Meals on Wheels' cuts

Angie Massey
March 20, 2017

Meals on Wheels received 50 times the typical amount of daily donations on Thursday after the White House proposed cuts to some of the program's sources of funding, a spokesperson for the group said. "We have on numerous occasions had older adults that we have had to call the ambulance on, and they wouldn't have been found for days and days, so it's not just a nutritional program, a check in program, but it could be a life or death program that nobody's going to have contact with these older adults for an extended period of time", said Kathy Fox, Director of a Meals on Wheels office. "It's been heartwarming to see this groundswell of support over the last 24 to 48 hours", Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications for Meals on Wheels America, told HuffPo.

Is it true that Meals on Wheels only receives 3 percent of its funding from the federal government? Meals on Wheels relies heavily on donations.

President Trump's budget proposal proposes to cut the Department of Health and Human Services by 16 percent.

No. Mulvaney said that Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs), a program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), were identified as "just not showing any results" and that the $3 billion should be spent on other budget items.

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Five organizations administer the Meals on Wheels program in the Houston area, including Interfaith Ministries.

White House officials question the effectiveness of programs such as Meals on Wheels. "Federal funding is at risk", says the homepage of the nonprofit's website, "Help us defend these vital services today". It's not directly targeted or even mentioned in Trump's initial budget.

Further, Meals on Wheels is not one single national organization, but an affiliation of independent operations around the U.S. There are more than 5,000 affiliates, all with different sources of funding, including government appropriations, foundation grants, individual donations, and corporate support. And that will take a while.

According to Hollander, Meals on Wheels has had a tremendously successful "public-private partnership", for which every "federal dollar is matched with about three dollars from other sources". And citizen advocacy comes into play, as well.

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