Local Meals on Wheels program could be affected by proposed cuts


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@delgazette.com



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SourcePoint’s Meals on Wheels program could be affected by the budget outline recently proposed by the White House.

On March 16 White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney outlined the White House’s new proposed budget, which including cuts to Community Development Block Grants which, in part, contribute to organizations like Meals on Wheels.

Director of Client Services at SourcePoint, Fara Waugh, said Friday that SourcePoint delivered meals to 1,053 clients in 2016 through the Meals on Wheels program. She said that the proposed cuts could have an impact on the local program, although at this point it is unclear to what degree.

Waugh said that SourcePoint’s cost per is $8.45 per home-delivered meal and said SourcePoint receives $2.08 per meal from state and federal funds. Waugh explained that in 2016 SourcePoint used 290 volunteers to deliver 201,664 meals to clients in Delaware County.

She said the clients typically get meal deliveries five days a week, which include on hot meal and another meal that can be reheated. At the end of the week additional re-heatable meals are delivered to last the clients through the weekend.

Waugh said the $8.45 includes the cost of the food, delivery expenses, labor and packing the meals.

When asked by news organizations about the cuts to the Community Development Block Grants specifically, Mulvaney said the CDBG was a program that had been designated as one that had not been “showing any results.”

“What [Meals on Wheels] does, what providing home delivered meals does is help to maintain optimum health, you must have good nutrition in order to stay healthy,” Waugh said. “Sometimes the only thing that a person needs in order to live independently to live in their home is a good nutritious meal and someone to check on them once a day. We have volunteers that go in and they know their clients and have been delivering to them for years in many cases and they’re checking on their well being.”

The program helps to prevent isolation, as well as providing meals.

“Those are the things that prevent people from being prematurely and unnecessarily placed in a nursing home,” Waugh continued. “Even if a person has the ability to pay for the nursing home in the beginning first few years, the great majority of individuals who go into nursing homes end up on Medicaid, which comes out of tax dollars at $5,000 or more per month. So I can’t grasp what figures [Mulvaney] uses to support such a statement when we have so many figures to support the opposite of that.”

If SourcePoint loses funding from grants like the CDBG it would have to rely more on local dollars from donors, fundraisers and levy funds. Waugh said cuts to these programs could impact SourcePoint’s ability to serve the growing number of older adults in Delaware County.

“This program is such a critical program and yet it’s such a simple concept,” Waugh said. “It really does support their health and Independence and their ability to continue in the community which is better for the community as a whole and better for those individuals as well.”

The Associated Press reports that the budget outline is essentially the White House’s wish list and it will be up to congress to decide what programs will receive more or less funding.

Waugh said that local residents interested in helping support the program can donate directly to SourcePoint via their website and Waugh encouraged residents to contact their representatives and convey how important the Meals on Wheels program is.

Additionally, SourcePoint is currently selling boxed lunches through their website for $10 through March 26 as part of a fundraiser for the program.Local businesses and organizations that place a minimum of three orders by Sunday can have lunch delivered to their office on Tuesday, April 4 and/or Wednesday, April 5.

More information about the boxed lunches could be found at https://www.mysourcepoint.org/lunch/

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By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@delgazette.com

Your Opinions

We asked for your opinion on this and other stories about Meals on Wheels, and we got a lot of responses. For a sampling, see page 4.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.