Council On Aging Fears Trump Budget Will End Program Funding

March 17, 2017

The budget submitted Thursday by President Donald Trump includes the elimination of grant programs that currently fund the Council on Aging of West Florida’s “Meals on Wheels” program.

Locally, Meals on Wheels delivers almost 130,000 meals to nearly 500 senior citizens throughout the year. Many of these aging adults are homebound and cannot care for themselves like they once could. Meals on Wheels not only provides much-needed nutrition and sustenance, but companionship and a chance for social service agencies to check in with clients.

“Meals on Wheels is a program that serves a vital need for homebound, disabled and vulnerable aging adults,” said John Clark, President and CEO of Council on Aging. “The program is largely comprised of volunteers who donate their time and transportation to alleviating hunger in our senior community. This is not a government agency bloated with bureaucracy whose cuts would benefit the tax-payer; Meals on Wheels is fully dedicated to the client and in fact helps Americans avoid the far greater cost of caring for these individuals in a nursing home or retirement community.”

The program needs increased funding and participation, not less, according to Clark.

There are almost 500 elderly people on waiting lists in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties who need the services of Meals on Wheels. Nationwide, the need is growing rapidly as well, and federal funding has not kept pace. Meals on Wheels is already serving 23 million fewer meals now than in 2005, and waiting lists are mounting in every state. At a time when increased funding is needed, millions of seniors who rely on the program every day for a nutritious meal, safety check and visit from a volunteer will be left behind, Clark said.

“The problem with a skinny budget is it is lean on details. So, while we don’t know the exact impact yet, cuts of any kind to these highly successful and leveraged programs would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America, which in turn saves billions of dollars in reduced healthcare expenses” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO Meals on Wheels America.


28 Responses to “Council On Aging Fears Trump Budget Will End Program Funding”

  1. H F in Seminole on March 21st, 2017 12:49 am

    “Give me a break” – please take a break. Chill out and relax. Get away from politics for awhile.

  2. Andrew Gibbs on March 20th, 2017 9:23 am

    The US Government only contributes 3% to the total Meals on Wheels budget.

  3. David Huie Green on March 19th, 2017 9:39 am

    “The so-called president cost the TAXPAYERS 3 MILLION dollars every time he goes to Maralago. He has gone for 7 consecutive weeks. In the last month we have spent 10 MILLION so that hypocrite can GOLF. Add to that the FORTUNE that is paid for Melanie and son to not live in the White House. ”

    So-called? Nope, he really IS President. With the slate of nominees last time, we were in for a bad time whichever one was elected and he was it.

    He didn’t decide what to pay for Secret Service protection. I doubt we are spending enough to protect him as it is, less than a penny per citizen per trip.

    Protecting his family is also not HIS decision, nor is his wife a slave who must go wherever her master goes. Live with it. (When I get to be President, I’m moving my center of operations to Bluff Springs. DC be crazy.)

    He’s not very smart, is a powerful liar, probably a sociopath who we elected to the Presidency — in part by running a lying probably sociopathic woman against him.

    He does drive home the fact that elections matter and that the major political parties should nominate their candidates wisely and the American people who vote will pick among evil if forced to pick the lesser of many evils.

    David for reality
    and making it better

  4. john on March 19th, 2017 8:07 am

    Too many people have relied on government for too long, families could do more to step up and help their aging folks get a meal, if these folks are well enough to still be at home who is to say they can’t cook for themselves, yes I have met lazy old people too. All of these organizations have a CEO, how much are they making? Drain the swamp President Trump, people need to get off their haunches help their elderly parents more. Drain it good.

    And as far as the Gods church goes, it primary function is to feed the spiritual food of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and if physical hunger stands in the way, then meet that need first.

  5. Give me a break on March 18th, 2017 10:11 pm

    The so-called president cost the TAXPAYERS 3 MILLION dollars every time he goes to Maralago. He has gone for 7 consecutive weeks. In the last month we have spent 10 MILLION so that hypocrite can GOLF. Add to that the FORTUNE that is paid for Melanie and son to not live in the White House. Absolutely outrageous for this monster to cut out Meals on Wheels and other programs that help feed hungry seniors and children. Where is your famous fiscal responsibility, Republicans, when it comes to this GROSS waste of taxpayer money?!

  6. gatorbait on March 18th, 2017 6:36 pm

    Cutting Funding for Meals on Wheels to the Elderly, Cutting Funding for Breakfast and free lunches for elementary children living in poverty.. Is this going to make America great again.

  7. Howie on March 17th, 2017 9:53 pm

    I’m old and have worked all my life from the age of 15 to retirement. I’ve not asked anyone for assistance. Now I do have understanding that not everyone can land a great job throughout their lifetime. But please, people get out and get a job and go to work. Minimum wage does help. The Government is not our bank account. Families and communities need to come together and give money or food if you have it to the needy. Manna food bank is always acceptable to receiving food and pantry items. The festivals that go on in Seville Square every year could give some of their proceeds to Meals on Wheels. Gulf Coast Arts Festival, Seafood Festival. At Seville Quarter, the Gumbo Cookoff, the Chili Cookoff. The Frenkels who own Pensacola Fairgrounds could dig something out of their padded pockets and give. You businesses should stop keeping every little penny you make and give back if you can. Mardi Gras events and Krewe’s could give to the needy instead of a charity that already is funded by giant businesses and research. We give to you by attending your events. If Trump doesn’t do something, the USA will fall apart at the seams. Our past 8 years has been a setting up point for failure. It’s almost there now.

  8. For a Safe America on March 17th, 2017 8:47 pm

    Folks, we need to be concerned about the security of our country. No one is saying we don’t need to take care of our elderly. Our government just doesn’t need to foot the bill. This is a great mission for churches, families and neighbors. Everyone can step up and help in these areas. Imagine the blessing that would be for both parties.

    There is only so much money. I want a safe place for my children to live. The money has to come from somewhere. Give it a chance folks. Make America Safe!

  9. anne 1of2 on March 17th, 2017 8:16 pm

    I delivered meals-on-wheels years ago in another state and I know the elderly are so happy to have a visitor it breaks your heart. I deal with as many elderly people as one person can handle and I will tell you many children are thoughtless. But on the other side of this coin, many elderly will not tell their children they are starving for fear of being put in a nursing home. This problem will work itself out and President Trump is correct in stopping debt that right now is taking food out of the mouths of our great grand children. Want money to feed your parent? Then knock off the $800.00 birthday parties for your kids. Feed your mom.

  10. Jonathan on March 17th, 2017 7:28 pm

    Meals on Wheels costs less annually than one of Trump’s weekends in Florida. Food for thought…

  11. Shurl on March 17th, 2017 7:09 pm

    Absolutely none of the cuts he is proposing go towards balancing the budget. The funding that is cut will go into military spending at an almost exact amount. Almost 54 billion dollars.

  12. CW on March 17th, 2017 4:47 pm


    I think you’re missing the point, Meals on Wheels helps people who are disabled and can’t drive. Not everyone has family that will help, or is able to help. If someone can’t drive they sure can’t attend church can they?

  13. Larry on March 17th, 2017 2:15 pm

    From looking at which states use this Meals on Wheels and HUD the most I would say the South is the most dependent on these Senior food housing services and will suffer the most once they are gone. I will say other countries including UK,Australia And Ireland have Meals on Wheels For Seniors and they have no such funding problems. EPA%32 Cut, Department of Labor%20 Cut, Department of Agriculture%21 Cut. Department of Education%21 Cut. I really hope all these cuts don’t back fire for him though…

  14. sam on March 17th, 2017 12:36 pm

    i worked and paid taxes for 40 years. i pay for my food, gas, and utilities. if someone is so destitute that they need help, i would think the family, churches and community should step up. not the government.

  15. EMD on March 17th, 2017 12:15 pm

    If we all did our part as friends and neighbors, we would not need funding.

  16. lzhome on March 17th, 2017 12:09 pm

    Meals on wheels and similar services to the “really needy” should come from the local communities. Churches have become such big businesses and they could pick up a lot of this if their mind was in the right place (I know their heart is already).
    Also, the Federal Government was never charged by the Constitution to feed the people but instead to secure the nation and present the environment for people to flourish on their own; family by family, community by community and state by state.

  17. RASHEED jACKSON on March 17th, 2017 11:48 am

    23 MILLION less meals than in 2005. Is this per year? If so it seems the funding has been on the decline for 12 years, 8 of which were under Obama. Now that Trump is in office lets blame him. His budget might have an affect, sounds to me like the last 12 budgets did a pretty good job of reducing funding.
    Does the reduced funding, if there is any, offer the churches an opportunity to help? Well , no more of opportunity than they already have. Most churches I know have food pantries and services to help the elderly now.
    Please don’t think I am not supportive of meals on wheels I think they are an awesome organization and the people that volunteer their time are special but before we start the blame game let’s wait and see what happens. Who knows the hand of God may reach down and bless this organization and its volunteers for their hard work and compassionate hearts.

  18. Steph on March 17th, 2017 10:27 am

    Our government is broke. Past administration have made sure of that. And folks that’s both republicans and democrats. Trump is in no one’s debt except the American people and from what he has done he proving that. It is time to expect Americans to step up to the plate and help family, friends and neighbors. Ml

  19. Sage2 on March 17th, 2017 10:16 am

    Just some thoughts referencing this. The old adage comes to mind…Charity begins at home! With that, think of the billions of $$$ sent to foreign countries as well as tons of food that is then sold for a profit by some two-bit dictator or strongman leaving the starving still hungry.

    Serious thought, planning and distribution of food should be given to feed OUR people. Those capable of working should do so.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone somewhere or somehow must pay for what others receive for free.

    As for churches or charitable organizations taking up the slack…there is an old saying…Don’t mind the mule, just load the wagon. Even the benevolence of Christians has limits as a mule would pulling an overloaded wagon.

  20. CW on March 17th, 2017 9:27 am

    I voted for Trump, but I think Meals On Wheels needs to be funded. Not only does it provide meals for the elderly, but it also checks up on them. Those volunteers can call 911 or social services if they feel like something is wrong. Let’s face it, many elderly people do not have family to help them, and the problem will get worse in the future.

    And as far as churches helping, that’s a joke. Many church goers are hypocrites, they talk a good talk, but don’t walk the walk. Many elderly also aren’t able to attend church.

  21. Native 1950 on March 17th, 2017 9:15 am

    Exactly, Michelle!!! Don’t go bashing our wonderful President! It’s not his fault we’re in the same we’re in! We’ve put ourselves in this sad situation. If all the churches in the area would step up and do what they’re supposed to be doing, ‘ministering to others’, instead of always sitting on a cushioned bench in an a/c or heated building singing Praise choruses over and over and having teens and more on the stage with the lights and fog, etc. pretending to be rock stars, then we wouldn’t need to depend on the Government. What a shame. Used to our churches ministered to the elderly and shut-ins. Now all they do is send them a packet of offering envelopes and hope to get their money! :’(

  22. molino resident on March 17th, 2017 9:00 am

    Two things I am passionate about: Council on Aging and Donald Trump. Council on Aging is a WONDERFUL program that does so much good. I agree with a couple of writers, previous to me. The Government is not the answer to everything and our Country’s spending is out of control. President Trump is correct about cutting programs. First I would cut out the free phones. Give me a break. This is unconscionable the way our Government gives out free phones. People in this Country have become so lazy that they don’t want a job. There are jobs out there but people do not want to work because our Government has been giving out money like candy. Why would anyone want to work? Lastly, families used to take care of their own. The sad part is the family structure is broken. Thank goodness for Churches.

  23. BB on March 17th, 2017 8:32 am

    I agree with Michelle. Time for churches and other organizations to step up and take the lead. That’s the only reason the gov’t is involved with M.O.W…because communities and citizens don’t want (or make time) to take care of their elderly. We need less gov’t in our lives!

  24. Michelle on March 17th, 2017 8:20 am

    This will give churches a chance to step up and love and serve others. William, How can churches help?

  25. elmer on March 17th, 2017 7:53 am

    That is just great GO THRUMP

  26. Kate on March 17th, 2017 7:14 am

    We can either provide meals on wheels or we can warehouse our seniors in nursing homes at a much higher price. TRMPS choice, we’ll see what he chooses. I am pretty sure it will be a bad choice.

  27. JOHN D BODIE on March 17th, 2017 5:32 am

    The funding for a lot of these programs is going to have to come from the states, I don’t want anyone to go without food or such, but it is not for the federal government to fund everything. Programs like NPR, Public television has to be cut and many more if We want to get our budget balanced. The government does not owe Us everything. Thats whats wrong with folks , many think the Government owes them health care, phones, food, housing etc. Wrong. I understand that folks need a helping hand once in a while, but if your able , get a job.

  28. Jarrod Adams on March 17th, 2017 4:19 am

    Our County leaders should step-up and help with this program. It is their lack of responsibility that has led to spending upwards of $500,000 per month to house inmates in other counties. After almost 3 years since the jail explosion, not one piece of dirt has moved towards the new jail complex but we have all of this money padding other counties pockets. Both Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties are making money from what they charge us to house our inmates and here we are writing them a check monthly.

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