There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the recent proposed budget implications and the funding of our Meals on Wheels program. Our Meals on Wheels program delivers an average of 1,000 meals each weekday to approximately 800-900 homebound seniors in 14 cities and counties in the Richmond Tri-Cities area. The cost of meals to each recipient is based on a sliding scale, depending on each individual’s ability to pay based on their gross income. Meals may cost up to $6 each, however, many recipients don’t have the income to pay this full amount.
FeedMore’s Meals on Wheels program and other local programs, receive funding from various sources. 23% of the budgeted cost for FeedMore’s program is reimbursed through local Areas Agencies on Aging, who receive funding from federal sources including Community Development Block Grants and the Older Americans Act.
Meals on Wheels America is a national organization that provides support, funding, advocacy and leadership for over 5,000 local Meals on Wheels Programs, including FeedMore’s own program. The national network of individual programs receives 35% of its funding through the Older Americans Act. Meals on Wheels America receives 3% of their own funding from the government for a resource center on nutrition and aging. (Source: Meals on Wheels America, Statement Clarifying Federal Funds to Meals on Wheels)
At FeedMore, we see and feel the effectiveness of our Meals on Wheels program every day. Providing nutritious and diet-specific meals for our area seniors who are unable to leave their homes reduces the amount of health- related illnesses our seniors face. One day of intensive care is equivalent to a full year’s cost for Meals on Wheels. Helping seniors remain healthy and out of the hospital translates into lower health care costs for insurers and the government. The social interaction and safety check each delivery provides ensures our seniors are cared for emotionally. The effectiveness of Meals on Wheels programs is, undoubtedly, very clear.
We remain committed to our mission to support our community’s seniors and our incredibly vital Meals on Wheels program regardless of the outcome of the proposed federal budget. We have no way to project the size of this gap, but we know the continued support and generosity of our community will allow us to continue executing our mission.