Donations to Meals on Wheels Spike After White House Proposes Cuts
Each year, 2.4 million elderly and disabled people across America rely on Meals on Wheels for life-saving nutrition when they’re unable to shop and cook for themselves. On a typical day, the non-profit organization receives about $1,000 in unsolicited online donations, but that all changed after President Trump’s budget proposal last week threatened to cut federal funding for Meals on Wheels. Over a two-day period the public-private hybrid organization received $100,000 in unsolicited donations, showing the awesome power of helpful bystanders.
"One would assume that concerned individuals who see the value in Meals on Wheels want it [to continue] to serve seniors in need," Meals on Wheels spokesperson Jenny Bertolette told NBC News.
The budget proposal calls for the elimination of one program that Meals on Wheels relies on: a $3 billion community development block program within the Department of Housing and Urban Development, from which Meals on Wheels receives three percent of its overall funding. Since Meals on Wheels programs vary from state to state, the impact of the budget cuts will be different across each of the 5,0000 subsidiaries of the non-profit program, according to USA Today.
The White House has denied that Meals on Wheels will be impacted as much as the media is claiming.
"We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good and great," Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget said, according to NBC News. "Meals on Wheels sounds great. Again that's a state decision to fund that particular portion to it. To take the federal money and give it to the states and say, 'Look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work.' I can't defend that anymore."
Mulvaney further explained that over the course of four decades, approximately $150 billion in federal grant money has been spent on the community development block program, which — in his words —has “just not been showing any results.”
Several independent scientific studies, however, have shown that Meals on Wheels provides much more than food for those in need: A study in 2016 showed that home-delivered meals alleviate loneliness for elderly people who live alone, and a 2014 study proved that the overall health and food security of the meal recipients was improved.