Budget cuts are necessary, but funding for programs that are actually working, like Meals on Wheels, need be closely scrutinized.
President Trump’s budget director told reporters that the US has spent $150 billion on community block programs since the 70s, and many of them are not showing any positive results. Opposition forces, and much of the media, pounced on this to make headline-grabbing statements that Trump’s administration was saying that Meals on Wheels itself wasn’t working, which is untrue.
Meals on Wheels provides many seniors with the only nutritious meal they get on many days, but along with that, the visit by the MOW volunteer delivering the meal is quite often the only human contact of the day as well. The volunteer provides a check on the person, who may have fallen or become ill, and is unable to reach a phone to call for help, and likely has saved many lives over the years.
An additional benefit from the Meals on Wheels program is the nutritional meals provided, that may also help keep seniors out of hospitals and assisted living facilities, saving the taxpayers untold funds.
One thing that the outcry over the cuts for MOW funding has done, is to raise awareness of the program, or to re-focus many everyday Americans that knew about the program but hadn’t paid it much attention. Reports are already coming in about increase private donations and more people volunteering to deliver the meals, but that will fade as the news cycle changes.
Again, the President’s budget cuts were not aimed directly at Meals on Wheels, but on the programs that partially fund the organizations across the country. I would suggest these agencies take a closer look at some of their other expenses to meet the across-the-board cuts. Many of these government departments are already famous for their lavish furniture purchases and taxpayer-funded “meetings” held in resorts.
Meals on Wheels is a worthy program, and unlike many federal programs, this one actually helps those who receive its benefits, and any and all efforts to allow the program to continue should be made. However, reducing federal spending must be one of the highest priorities going forward. Elimination of the over $200 billion being spent on interest on the national debt could provide funding for many more Meals on Wheels type programs.