Ukiah Meals on Wheels program not affected by federal budget

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So we're not at loss of losing our "Meals on Wheels" program. In the meantime, Meals On Wheels will continue to make delivers, hoping these cuts never come through.

We looked at several local Meals on Wheels programs and found that block grant money was often a pittance, and as often as not the programs got no CDBG money.

Seniors in New Hampshire expressed their fears Monday over proposed federal budget cuts to the Meals on Wheels program.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., said Trump's plan was "literally taking food away from seniors". Specifically, the funds are allocated by the Older Americans Act and distributed by the Administration on Aging within the Department of Health and Human Services.

MOWA says that "in the aggregate" local Meals on Wheels programs receive 35 percent of their funding directly from the federal government.

This year, Chagnon estimates Meals on Wheels will distribute 106,000 meals throughout Strafford County.

Congressional budget writers will weigh in on Trump's proposal in the coming months.

Still, "cuts of any kind to these highly successful and leveraged programs would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America", Hollander said in a statement.

Meals on Wheels is not a federal program that operates exclusively on federal funds. The act's 2016 budget was about $834 million, with almost $849 million proposed for 2017.

If the budget were to pass, Chagnon said it would likely be the end of the program, as community support and private donations wouldn't cover the difference. About 1 percent of block grant funds go to senior services. "If we get cut severely, we would have to pull people off meal routes", she said. The Trump administration has proposed cutting the overall HHS budget by 17.9 percent, but has not yet detailed where those cuts would fall and whether they would impact the Administration for Community Living, which funds nutrition programs for the elderly, as the Washington Post's Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler explained. Both Republican and Democratic legislators have promised to protect the Meals on Wheels program.

"The federal government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974, but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results", the authors of the budget blueprint say.

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