There has been a lot of publicity recently about federal cuts in Meals on Wheels due to President’s Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Community Development Block Grants. In Vermont, Meals on Wheels are not funded by this program, so this particular cut will not affect Vermont’s Meals on Wheels; however the program is still vulnerable to other reductions in the federal budget.
During the national discussion about budget cuts, some have questioned whether this well-established nutritional program for seniors works. We believe it does work! In central Vermont, we served over 200,000 meals last year! Meals on Wheels improve nutrition, reduce food insecurity and falls, and reduce the cost of institutional care. There are even benefits beyond the nutritional, as participants have lower loneliness scores.
Government funding for meals on wheels is already inadequate and has been for a decade. Meal sites in central Vermont do not have enough funding to meet the needs of our growing population of aging citizens. The meal sites are relying more on private donations and foundations to make up the difference and may have to resort to waiting lists in the future.
So, Vermont is not facing cuts yet but we continue to face shortages of federal funds as a result of flat funding for a decade or more.
How can we deal with such uncertainty? Please consider how you can support your local programs that provide Meals on Wheels or other senior services! Senior centers and meal sites are in need of donations as well as volunteers. To find out about your local meal site, please call Central Vermont Council on Aging at 479-0531, or online at www.cvcoa.org.
Vermonters are full of ingenuity and creativity and together we will get through these uncertain times.
Executive Director, Central Vermont Council on Aging