President Trump's proposed budget blueprint is out, and the news is not good. Hit particularly hard will be the more than 2.4 million seniors who rely on Meals on Wheels for a majority of their daily nutrition. Here's how to proactively help those affected by Meals on Wheels budget cuts. According to the Meals on Wheels fact sheet, one in six senior citizens suffer from hunger, and providing Meals on Wheels for one person, for one year, costs the same as spending just one day in the hospital — facts which have opponents of Trump's budget plan shaking their heads in disbelief.
Without hot meals delivered to them at home, 92 percent of MOW recipients says they would not be able to live independently; 90 percent said the deliveries help them to feel safe and secure; and 81 percent said the daily meals improve their overall health an wellbeing. Additionally, the fact sheet states that the service allows people to remain in their homes instead of being forced to relocate to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. And, keeping senior citizens in their homes saves billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid costs.
EARLIER: When I was a reporter in Maine, I personally went on a ride along with a city mayor as he delivered MOW to members of the community. For some of these people, the person delivering their meals is the only human contact they receive all day.
Watching their faces light up as they engaged in conversation, and prepared for their hot meal, drives home for me just how important this program is to the fabric of our society. After all, the way a country treats it's most vulnerable members, is reflection on the entire society. We can do better.
If you want to help, here's how you can assist those affected by the proposed MOW cuts.
Your Local Meals On Wheels Program
Since MOW programs are funded individually, each community usually has one. Look up your local MOW program, and donate money, or sign up to be a volunteer. After all, none of us will be young forever, and some of us might rely on a service like this one day. You can also donate to the Meals on Wheels Association of America, or find a local affiliation through their website. Donate here.
The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger
The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger is dedicated solely to understanding the complexities and consequences of senior hunger, and undernutrition, and works to create innovative approaches and programs to reduce it. Donate here.
Feeding America serves 7 million seniors (age 60 and older) each year. In 2015 the agency reported that 8 percent of households with seniors 65 and older did not have enough to eat. Many members of the same population suffer from chronic health conditions. Donate here.
National Council On Aging
The National Council On Aging reports that 25 million Americans 60 and older live at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. These older adults struggle with rising housing and healthcare bills, inadequate nutrition, lack of access to transportation, diminished savings, and job loss. The agency provides myriad resourced for older adults to assist with food, medicine, heat, and more. Donate here.
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly has been serving socially isolated seniors since 1959. The organization provides long-term companionship for elderly people in the United States to enhance their wellbeing, provide stability, promote independent living, and instill a sense of belonging. Donate here.
AARP and AARP Foundation
Losing funding to feed vulnerable seniors would be a national tragedy. Meals on Wheels launched an ad as a result of the proposed budget cuts, according to CNN. The ad reads: "Seniors in your communities need Meals on Wheels. And we need you. Federal funding is at risk. Help us defend these vital services today. Give now."
If you want to make a difference, now is the time to act.