Updated 03/01/2013 08:39 PM
Meals on Wheels Braces For Sequester-Related Decrease in Funding
State-funded programs throughout the country are scrambling to find ways to stay afloat. The Monroe County Meals on Wheels program says the loss in funding will force them to cut more than 4,000 meals locally.
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As the impact of these cuts start to trickle down to local state-assisted programs, services like Meals on Wheels may start to fall through the cracks.
The average meal that's provided to an elderly, isolated, and homebound resident costs seven dollars.
But volunteers for Meals on Wheels say you shouldn't have to put a price tag on a meal. For many seniors, these volunteers are their only tie to the outside world.
"That daily visit is critical, not only for the safety to whom we're delivering," said Phil Shippers, Meals on Wheels, Monroe County. "Most of the folks we're delivering meals to don't have a strong social network so that daily check-in, that smile from a volunteer can mean so much."
But the expected five percent cut in federal funding will force Meals on Wheels to decrease the amount and frequency of the meals provided.
"Our current clients would continue to receive meals. We've made a commitment to provide meals as long as they need them," Shippers said.
Then there's the reality of turning away an elderly resident in need. For many residents, these meals allow them to be self-sufficient outside of a nursing home.
"The impact of funding cuts would mean a longer waiting list."
With 2,000 people in Monroe County depending on these meals for their daily nutrition, seven dollars is priceless.
Phil Shippers says the Monroe County Meals on Wheels program already has 150 people on the wait list and its expected to increase with the sequester. You can donate to the Meals on Wheels program by clicking here.