Local Meals on Wheels providers brace for cuts
A popular program that helps home bound seniors is in danger of losing federal funds.

Saying it has a responsibility to run government more efficiently, the Trump administration may scale back, or get rid of programs that fund Meals on Wheels and other nutrition services.

One agency says for some older residents in the northwest suburbs, meals on wheels is more than a luxury - it is a necessity. The proposed cuts could affect daily food deliveries to their homes, or their ability to get meals at community centers and other places.

At CEAP in Brooklyn Center, officials say the cuts would have a major impact.

"The notion that we could have reductions in federal subsidies and federal funding for meals on wheels is hard to hear," said CEAP President Clare Brumback. "It's hard to hear that as a country are even considering less support for our seniors."

Meals on Wheels also lost another kind of federal funding in the form of community block grants.

Local cities decide how that money is doled out and both Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park are cutting back on block grant funding to CEAP by 20 percent, with the funds going to other organizations.

CEAP's challenge is finding a way to keep Meals on Wheels up and running, so they can continue to provide food to those who are isolated and in need.

"For a lot of our seniors this is a hot meal they wouldn't have otherwise," Brumback said. "I know my mother-in-law if you let her, she would live on cookies. However, we have a hot, balanced, nutritionally sound meal. But it's the community contact. It's the safety check. It's knowing that Mary's OK."

Because of this possible one-two punch, CEAP is exploring other funding options. Currently CEAP's Meals on Wheels operation serves 135 people on a daily basis.

Eric Nelson, reporting

April 6, 2017


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