Meals on Wheels Program Facing Budget Cuts

Meals on Wheels program facing budget cuts, more for spending on defense.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Meals On Wheels program is one of the many state programs up for a potential budget cut with President Trump's budget blueprint.

Pam Dukes, the executive director of Senior Resources in Columbia, says that could have a very large impact on their program.

"These seniors are homebound, they are frail, and they are vulnerable," Dukes said, "you are not going to see them marching in front of the statehouse and protesting the fact that someone may be cutting meals on wheels because they're not able to do that. And so that's what we do."

Dukes says they feed hundreds of seniors in Richland County.
 
"This year we expect to feed a little over 500 seniors," Dukes said.
 
The Trump administration's proposed budget cuts could put that in jeopardy.
 
"The federal funding that we receive for our meals on wheels program is about 37% of that programs' budget," Dukes said.
 
Dukes got her calculator out to see exactly how many people that is.
 
"One hundred and eighty," Dukes said. 
 
That could mean the waiting list goes up to more than 300. There are currently 130 seniors on the waitlist.
 
"That waiting list exists solely due to a lack of funding," Dukes said.
 
"It shouldn't surprise anybody that we have an America First Budget," said Mick Mulvaney,  former South Carolina Congressman and the White House budget director.
 
Mulvaney says the president's plan to increase defense spending by $54 billion will be made up for by cutting $54 billion non-defense domestic programs. The community block grant that funds Meals on Wheels will account for $3 Billion of that.
 
"We can't spend money on programs anymore just because they sound good and great, Meals on Wheels sounds great," Mulvaney said.
 
But for Eva Mae Brown, who has been in the program for two years, it is great.
 
"We worked hard our whole lives and we've done got old and nobody wants to help old people out here anymore," Brown said. "So we think, I think, we deserve it."
 
Dukes says she could not agree more.
 
"They've built our cities, they made us who we are and we owe it to them to pay it back," Dukes said.  
 
 
 
 

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