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The Trump Administration's proposed budget cuts advise eliminating Community Development Block Grants, which many of our country's Meals on Wheels programs rely on for support, placing our country's most vulnerable citizens and their animals at great risk.
Meals On Wheels has provided a crucial service to Americans since it was initiated by a small group of compassionate Philadelphians in 1954. Now in operation all across the U.S., the program not only provides nutritious meals to the elderly and impoverished, but many also offer free pet food for low-income seniors as well.
It was volunteers who first noticed Meals on Wheels clients giving their food away to their animals, deciding they would rather go hungry than let their pets suffer. Working with shelters and regional animal organizations, Meals on Wheels is now able to support animal-loving seniors with free pet food, along with nutritious meals for themselves, so no one goes hungry.
In one San Diego program, volunteers collect 3,000 pounds of donated dry food and about 3,200 cans of wet food for dogs and cats each month. The funding to support programs like this, however, is in jeopardy of being slashed drastically by 2018.
There are currently around 5,000 Meals on Wheels programs operating in the U.S., some which offer added benefits like senior center meal programs, home repair services, and transportation. These services lend a clinically proven lifeline to those who need it most. In a randomized test for Meals on Wheels America, a scientist from Brown University concluded that seniors gain mental and physical benefit from regular visits, possibly even keeping them out of the nursing home, and their animals in loving hands.
The program is literally a lifesaver for the elderly and their pets.
"It's not just a meal, but a wellness check," Sandra Noe, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana told USA Today. "That volunteer, that driver is able to tune into whether that person's health is failing, or if theyve fallen or can't get out of their chair. And we're delivering relief from isolation, and we're delivering relief to their family as well."
The elimination of Community Development Block Grants by way of a 16 percent cut to the Health and Human Services budget would not only burden communities already trying to fight poverty, it would make it impossible for some Meals on Wheels programs to continue serving the elderly and their animals.
This myopic attempt at trimming the budget hurts those who need the most help of all.
Sign below to tell Director of the Office of Management and Budget and President Trump to reconsider the proposed budget cuts and continue to fund Community Development Block Grants and Meals on Wheels!
To Director of the Office of Management and Budget and President Trump,
The citizens of the United States have spoken, and we implore you to reconsider the proposed budget cuts to the Health and Human Services Department for 2018, specifically the community block grants that keep vital Meals on Wheels programs afloat.
As discovered by volunteers for the program, elderly Americans would often rather starve themselves rather than let their pets go without food. The Meals on Wheels program's free pet food assistance for low income seniors helps them care for their animal companions and maintain the bonds of friendship that indeed keep many out of the nursing home.
More than 2.4 million homebound Americans from 60 years old to over 100 are served by Meals on Wheels every year. A large number of those citizens, along with their animals, will be left hungry and alone if the program is defunded.
There are currently around 5,000 Meals on Wheels programs operating in the U.S., some which offer added benefits like senior center meal programs, home repair services, and transportation. They lend a clinically proven lifeline to those who need it most. A scientist from Brown University recently found that seniors gain mental and physical benefit from regular visits. And the same goes for keeping a pet healthy. With nutritious meals to feed their pets, our country's seniors will be able to live with dignity and comfort.
President Trump and Director Mulvaney, you of all people should understand the importance of supporting our senior citizens, as elected officials of a rapidly aging country. The idea of cutting support for Meals on Wheels is unjustifiable, and I demand you allow funding to community block grants to continue.