WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - If President Trump's budget is passed, it could bring massive cuts to programs that help the poor and the elderly. Meals on Wheels is one such program.
Everyday across the country, Meals on Wheels delivers free, nutritious meals to needy people who are home bound, like 82-year-old Joyce Prewett of Alexandria. Her husband died a year and half ago and she has her own health issues.
"When I started it, I had just come out of the hospital, so I wouldn't have been in any shape or form to start cooking," said Prewett.
Joyce is not permitted to cook anymore and depends on the two delivered meals which are prepared and packed seven days a week.
Meals on Wheels delivers meals to 2.4 million seniors nationwide and serves a total of 217 million people, 500,000 are veterans. In Virginia, Maryland and D.C. about 70,000 seniors are served.
Volunteers deliver the meals.
"This is a great need in our community, people who don't have mobility and can't get out and otherwise wouldn't have two meals a day that we deliver," said volunteer John Curley.
Mary Lee Anderson, Executive Director of Alexandria Senior Services, says Meals on Wheels actually saves government money in the long run.
"It allows them to stay in their home and be safe and secure. And if they don't have that food being brought to them, the cost to the community is going to be much greater. They're going to have to go into a nursing home facility, and that's expensive," said Anderson.
The national Meals on Wheels website says one year of delivered meals to one person is roughly the same cost as one day in a hospital.
Anderson says any cutback in funding, would hurt some of neediest people on many levels, including the personal connection they make.
"I really enjoy meeting the seniors. I really feel like this is something they need, that interaction with other people. A lot of times this is the only person they see all day," said volunteer Donna Reuss.
Funding for Meals on Wheels comes from many sources, the largest chunk, 35%, from HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, though the Older Americans Act. President Trump has called for an 18% cut in HUD's budget. The President would also eliminate a Block grant that is used by communities to support Meals on Wheels.
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