Concerns for Meals on Wheels funding in the Savannah area - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Concerns for Meals on Wheels funding in the Savannah area

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The White House is defending proposed cuts to popular federal programs, one of those being Meals on Wheels, the popular service that provides food to the elderly, faces a sharp funding cut under Trump's budget proposal, drawing bipartisan criticism. 

Now, Senior Citizens Incorporated, which operates the Meals on Wheels program in our area, is sharing their concerns over the budget proposal.

It's much the same as we're hearing in the headlines from around the country right now, that any cuts in the budget will have a profound effect on the program.

The president of Senior Citizens, Inc. says they stretch whatever funding they get, whether through local, state, federal or private donors. Right now in Chatham County alone, there's a wait list 400 people long, all seniors trying to get the services of Meals on Wheels. 

Leaders here at Senior Citizens, Inc. make the argument that making sure our older citizens are well fed and looked after will cost taxpayers far less than someone ending up in the hospital from malnutrition.

"It seems to me we should be investing more money into programs like Meals on Wheels, that help people live the life they want to live, they'll age successfully, and it's going to save everybody money," said Patti Lyons, President of Senior Citizens Inc. "But more importantly, it gives us a healthier, happier person who deserves that." 

35 percent of funding for local Meals on Wheels programs comes from the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, which falls under the Health Department. With President Trump's budget proposal, that department could face a nearly 18 percent cut.

"What has been proposed is a 35 percent cut in funding. That's 44,000 meals to us. And that's a lot of food, that's a lot of people who won't be fed," said Lyons.

"That would impact me a lot, because I don't cook very much, because my family doesn't really like me to cook," said Bonnie Fuhrman, Meals on Wheels Client. "They are afraid I would forget to turn off the stove."

Leaders at Senior Citizens Inc. are encouraging the community to reach out to our local representatives to voice their concern over the proposed budget cuts.

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