If President Trump’s budget cuts become reality, Meals on Wheels deliveries could be cut in half, according to a spokeswoman for the network. The nonprofit that serves 2.4 million Americans will be affected negatively by the anticipated “deep cuts”
After the White House proposed eliminating the Community Development Block Grant program, the spokeswoman said that on Thursday donations to the non-profit surged to 50 times their daily rate.
Jenny Bertolette, Meals on Wheels’ spokeswoman said that despite the block grants funding only a small portion of their operations nationwide, but some of the group’s 5,000 local branches rely on the money to bring food to people.
One-third of a Meals on Wheels branch outside Detroit would lose its budget without the grants, while the branch in San Jose, Calif., would lose $100,000.
The organization is speculating that Trump’s vague budget outline could also slash the Older Americans Act, which funds more than one-third of its operations across the United States.
A banner ad that greets visitors to the nonprofit group’s website reads “Federal funding is at risk. Help us defend these vital services today.”
Trump’s budget plan is thin on details which leads to unclarity when it comes to the actual effect of next year’s budget on the program
Housing programs will be affected by the proposed elimination of the $3 billion block grant program, not food services.
However, the White House also proposes cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services. It oversees a more than $800 million annual program that props up Meals on Wheels operations nationwide.
Meals on Wheels officials are left to worry and wonder as the budget outline doesn’t say what would happen to Older Americans Act funding,
However, Trump’s budget is just a proposal, as Congress still has to decide on 2018 budget. Congressional members from both parties have promised to protect the program.
Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) said that the White House was “literally taking food away from seniors,”
While Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (R-Fla.) said he ran Meals on Wheels deliveries himself.
However, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the proposal by saying that the government “can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good — and great.”
Program executives told CNN that since the Trump budget outline was released, people across the country have been offering help to Meals on Wheels
Surges of donations and other support were seen in local branches from Minneapolis to West Los Angeles. And a spokeswoman said that volunteer sign-ups increased fivefold
The group’s executive director told CNN: “It’s reassuring that the public has stepped up.”