Meals on Wheels in Siouxland won't be affected by proposed 2018 budget

Meals on Wheels in Siouxland won't be affected by proposed 2018 budget

For some senior citizens, the only form of human interaction and check ups they get, are when volunteers from Meals on Wheels visit their homes.

But with potential budget cuts looming, some areas around the country might be losing this program.

Barbara Redmond is a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, A national program designed to deliver meals to elderly people who are home bound.

"Some of them are able to stay in their home and get a good, nutritional meal, at least once a day," Redmond said.

Earlier this month it was revealed that President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget would cut funding to programs like Meals on Wheels.

"The funding that's being cut is block funding," Chris Kuchta, public relations coordinator for Community Area Agency on Aging, said. "That only affects about three percent of Meals on Wheels in the nation."

Most Meals on Wheels across the country, including the one here in Sioux City, get their funding from the Older Americans Act, meaning their funding will be secure.

But there's talks that the Department of Health and Human Services might see potentially 16% of cuts, which could affect the Connections Area Agency on Aging.

"Some of those cuts will trickle down to us" Kuchta said. "Not specifically for Meals on Wheels, but across the board cuts."

Redmond says this program is more than just delivering food to seniors.

"I say, I always say I get more out of Meals on Wheels than what my clients do," she said. "Meals on Wheels is a very important part of our community."

If programs like this face cuts, Redmond feels it could force senior citizens to decide what they should be paying for: food or something like insurance.

"What's going to take precedent with the little bit of money that I have," Redmond said.

"Any cuts to programs that affect seniors who are on limited incomes is always concerning," Kuchta said. "Those are folks who are living on these tight budgets and it will affect the quality of their life."

Kuchta says it's actually more cost effective to have seniors stay at home and have meals delivered to them, than simply putting them in a nursing home.

According to the Meals on Wheels website, roughly a year of meals provided to a person on the program is the equivalent in cost to a day in the hospital.

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