Meals on Wheels receives spike in donations after White House proposes cuts

Republicans and Democrats have promised to protect the program

Justin Carissimo
New York
Monday 20 March 2017 20:24
A Catholic Services worker prepares Meals on Wheels lunch delivery on March 12, 2014 in Franklin, New Jersey.
A Catholic Services worker prepares Meals on Wheels lunch delivery on March 12, 2014 in Franklin, New Jersey.

Since the White House released its latest budget proposal to defund various social programs, Meals on Wheels has received a massive increase in online donations and volunteer signups.

The non-profit organization that serves 2.4 million Americans received more than $100,000 in donations over a two-day period, officials announced on Saturday. The organization typically receives nearly $1,000 in daily online donations.

The White House announced on Thursday its plan to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program that funds 3 percent of Meals on Wheels operations nationwide. Still, spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette warned on CNN that the group’s 5,000 local branches rely heavily on the money to bring food to people who need it the most.

She explained that one branch just outside of Detroit relies on the block grants for 30 percent of their budget. And in San Jose, another branch had received nearly $2.5 million in funding in block grants to address the homeless and cover other costs.

"We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good and great," Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, told reporters on Thursday. "Meals on Wheels sounds great. Again that's a state decision to fund that particular portion to it. To take the federal money and give it to the states and say, 'Look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work.' I can't defend that anymore."

If the budget were to pass, the Department of Health and Human Services would see a 16.2 percent cut in funding. Officials with Meals on Wheels are still wondering how the budget will affect funding from the Older Americans Act, the organization’s primary source of funding. Bertolette said that Meals on Wheels would take a significant hit if that funding were cut.

"This is gonna take a huge effort on the Hill in the next weeks and months to really advocate for our program," she told CNN. "This budget would add insult to injury."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in