Donations and Volunteers Flow to Meals on Wheels after OMB Chief's Comment

Martin Cominsky, the head of Interfaith Ministries, said his group serves hot meals daily to 4,018 senior citizens in the the Houston area, and maintains a waiting list that now has 187 people on it. What the budget does propose is the elimination of community development block grants, which a portion of the nation's 5,000 Meal on Wheels programs rely on for funding. While the budget does not say which programs under HHS would be affected by that cut, the department oversees the Older Americans Act, the 1972 law that makes up the primary source of funding for Meals on Wheels.

"Our funding comes from other entities through federal grants and other areas".

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney defended the proposed cuts, including that to Meals on Wheels.

Following the White House's release of a proposed federal budget on Thursday the liberal media went into a frenzy as they framed it as an assault against old people, the poor, and cancer research.

The meeting, held at the headquarters of Meals on Wheels, was attended by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat. "Help us defend these vital services today", the ad reads.

But the 5,000 local Meals on Wheels offices, which do the layman's work of providing the meals and services to seniors, receive a significant chunk of their money from funding that could be on the chopping block. Each local branch has its own donation sources, but they've reported donation surges, as well as a 500 percent increase in volunteer signups. However, HUD doesn't know how much of that money ultimately goes to that program. It's not directly targeted or even mentioned in Trump's initial budget.

Several local Meals on Wheels organizations said they had received similar support.

So though it's heartwarming to see people stepping up to support Meals on Wheels in the short term, it's also important to recognize the difference between supporting the group through donations and fighting to help the group maintain its federal funding.

"The good news that it has rallied folks around the cause and reminded folks that they can't really take these kinds of services for granted", said Patrick Rowan, executive director of Metro Meals on Wheels.

According to Hollander, Meals on Wheels has had a tremendously successful "public-private partnership", for which every "federal dollar is matched with about three dollars from other sources". And since the federal government started to apply more performance measurements to federal programs in the Bush administration those block grants have been "just not showing any results", he said.

But Meals on Wheels officials pushed back on that, saying the program saved taxpayers millions of dollars.

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