Meals on Wheels donations surge after Trump suggests budget cuts
Donations to Meals on Wheels, a nationwide network of organizations that provide home delivery services to the elderly, have soared since news broke of massive funding cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.
The nonprofit typically receives about $1,000 in donations per day, a spokeswoman told the Washington Post. But since the White House revealed on Thursday its proposal to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion initiative that provides money to state and local organizations for anti-poverty campaigns, the national office of Meals on Wheels has received more than $100,000 in donations.
Although the proposed elimination of the grant program would affect housing programs more than food services, the threat to Meals on Wheels in particular has become a rallying point for opponents of the cuts. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney was pilloried on social media for allegedly saying at a press conference that Meals on Wheels is “not showing results.”
In reality, however, he was commenting on the block grant program in general. Meals on Wheels “sounds great,” he said, adding that it would be up to states to continue to fund it if they so choose. But the reality is that states would almost certainly have to make significant cuts to programs that help the poor under Trump’s proposed budget.
It calls for a 17.9 percent budget cut to the Department of Health and Human Services, but it doesn’t specify how the Administration for Community Living, the sub-agency that allocates funding to Meals on Wheels, would be affected. Nor does it address the Older Americans Act, which provides many local Meals on Wheels organizations with much of their funding.
“It’s not just a meal, but a wellness check,” Sandra Noe, the executive director of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana said, told USA Today. “That volunteer, that driver is able to tune in to whether that person’s health is failing, or if they’ve fallen or can’t get out of their chair. And we’re delivering relief from isolation, and we’re delivering relief to their family as well.”
The donations to the national office of Meals on Wheels will primarily go to advocacy and awareness campaigns, a spokeswoman said. But local branches, which have separate funding streams, have reportedly seen upticks in donations as well.