Trump's proposal to slash Meals on Wheels funding could impact F - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Trump's proposal to slash Meals on Wheels funding could impact FeedMore

Feed More's Meals on Wheels delivers about 1,000 meals each weekday to 800-900 seniors in Central Virginia. (Source: NBC12) Feed More's Meals on Wheels delivers about 1,000 meals each weekday to 800-900 seniors in Central Virginia. (Source: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Many people have been highly critical of President Trump's budget proposal that suggests cutting parts of the Meals on Wheels program.

Four days out of the week, Meals on Wheels Richmond volunteer Mike Sarahan loads up his car to deliver hot meals to more than a dozen senior citizens in need.

"I may be the one person that they will visit with or have a chance to say hello to," he said.

But with President Trump's latest budget proposal, there are fears this popular nonprofit program may face cuts. Over the weekend, Trump's budget director clarified the potential impact on the Meals on Wheels program.

"All the stories about how we cut Meals on Wheels; I think the program that we propose to eliminate regarding Meals on Wheels accounts for three percent," said Mick Mulvaney, director of Office Management and Budget. "Three percent of the Meals on Wheels funding across the nation."

But, Meals on Wheels America said in a statement: "Some media outlets have incorrectly reported this number to be 3%, confusing it with the federal funding received by Meals on Wheels America, the national membership organization that does not provide direct services (e.g., meals). This miscommunication dramatically understates the significant impact of any federal budget cuts that may affect Meals on Wheels."

It says that 35 percent of the funding to 5,000 agencies like FeedMore, who actually distribute the meals, comes from federal and state sources. Some of those federal sources fall under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is facing an almost 18 percent cut.

FeedMore's CEO Douglas Pick says the proposed budget is still in its infancy, but has this warning: "It is a very good guess that some cuts are coming." 

Pick says 800 to 900 seniors are fed daily through the program and 1,000 meals are distributed. He says none of the current customers will go hungry, but the impact could be still be significant with more senior signing up for Meals on Wheels everyday.

He also fears programs that feed children in need after school and during the summer could be cut under the current budget proposal.

"I happen to believe that some of the decisions on this are misinformed and ill timed," he said.

However, he says there is one thing this nonprofit can consistently rely on -- the community.

"I'm very optimistic that this community will come forward and fill those gaps when we ask them," said Pick.

FeedMore will have a better idea of what the budget entails in late April or May. In the meantime they are encouraging people to volunteer and donate.

More information can be found here at feedmore.org.

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