As part of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, he suggested cutting federal funding for the popular Meals on Wheels program, which provides hot meals and visitations to 2.4 million senior citizens as well as disabled veterans.
While the federal government may have decided to cut food for the elderly and veterans in order to increase military spending, the American people have decided to step up and do what they can to fill the role left by the federal government.
Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications at Meals on Wheels, told Yahoo News that the national arm of the organization has seen a large increase in donations since the president announced his intention to cut funding to the program.
‘We received 50 times the normal amount of donations yesterday. Local programs fundraise individually and we can assume that there was likely a groundswell of local support, as well.’
Bertolette said that the group also “saw an almost 500 percent jump in volunteer sign-ups through our AmericaLetsDoLunch.org Ad Council website.”
Trump’s proposed budget would completely eliminate federal funding for the program. The Trump administration’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, spoke out in defense of the decision at a recent press conference, saying Meals on Wheels does not work:
‘We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals on Wheels sounds great … but 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.’
However, many would argue that Meals on Wheels does, in fact, work. The organization says that last year it served more than 219 million meals to 2 million seniors last year.
While the increased donations from volunteers are sure to help, it is unlikely to make up for the loss in federal funding, which accounts for 35 percent of the program’s finances.
— Meals on Wheels (@_MealsOnWheels) March 17, 2017
There are undoubtedly some areas of the federal budget that are in need of a cut, but providing good to seniors and veterans is not one of them. Especially not when that money will then be spent on wars and a wall(that Mexico was supposedly going to pay for.)
Featured image via Getty Images.