Meals on Wheels may see federal funding cuts

Meals on Wheels enables the nation’s senior citizens to receive free hot meals delivered to their home several times a week, but the program may be facing funding cuts if President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget blueprint sent to Congress last month is approved.

Roberta Lauder, director of resource development for Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, said the local program has been “getting a little bit less” funding over the years, and that has been impacting the number of people they can serve. To make up some of the difference, she said SAAA holds fundraising activities throughout the year.

She added that the older population is still growing and the need for these services won’t diminish any time soon.  She noted that keeping seniors in their homes with the help of Meals on Wheels providing meals is more cost-effective than a stay in a nursing home.

“It costs less to provide a senior Meals on Wheels for an entire year than it costs to spend one day in the hospital or six days in a nursing home,” Lauder said. “Meals on Wheels saves us all billions of dollars in unnecessary Medicaid and Medicare expenses every year.”

Meals on Wheels served 15,176 meals to 113 people in Shenandoah County in fiscal 2016, and 6,356 meals to 51 people in Warren County during the same period.

According to Meals on Wheels America’s website, http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org, Meals on Wheels receives 35 percent of its funding from the federal government.

The website states that Trump’s proposed budget also calls for the elimination of the Community Block Grant and Community Development Block Grant, which some Meals on Wheels programs rely upon.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com