Meals On Wheels Cuts & Budget Bologna “Cold-Slap” to Elderly & Poor.
HOUSTON- As the Donald Trump White House feasts on the best in catered meals and dinner dates costing thousands of taxpayer dollars from Washington, DC. to Mira Lago, Florida, America’s elderly suffer and struggle to survive from one day to the next trying to make good choices about what to eat for meals, how much to pay for medications while enduring a humble mild-mannered lifestyle.
Adding insult to daily injury is the cold slap in the face of your grandma, your granddad, your mom and dad and other elderly retired now living of fixed incomes are facing a new threat – The fear of further pain and isolation surrounding President Donald J. Trump’s administration attempt to eliminate funding support for anti-poverty programs, including Meals on Wheels.
The Fight is Real
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is fighting to save crucial social service programs that are at risk of being slashed or gutted as part of the draconian cuts laid out in the Trump Budget.
“The Trump budget will cause Meals on Wheels programs to shut down across America and undermine other vital social service programs,” District 19 Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said sounding a loud strong wake up call for Americans to act. “These cuts are immoral and would devastate the most members of our community who have already suffered enough. We must stand together to fight for American values and say “no” to the Trump budget.”
Houston’s Meals on Wheels program could see major a major scale back in operations causing many seniors and other vulnerable members of the community to go without food.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued the following statement regarding proposed federal budget cuts that would seriously reduce funding for the Meals on Wheels program in Houston.
“As Honorary Chair of the Advisory Board of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, the largest Meals on Wheels provider in the Greater Houston area, I know firsthand the importance of this program,” he said. “For many of these residents, the driver delivering this meal is often the only regular visitor they receive. Without this vital program, thousands of our most vulnerable citizens will be left alone and hungry. I am calling on our Congressional delegation to not let this happen.”
According to Turner, Interfaith Ministries serves Approximately 4,000 homebound seniors and disabled adults receive Meals on Wheels from Interfaith Ministries each day.
Even more Houston residents are served by other agencies such as the YWCA and the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.
“More than 90 percent of these clients have annual incomes that place them below the federal poverty level,” he said. “They depend on the hot meal provided by Meals on Wheels for sustenance.”
Also, in Austin, another organization announced that the delivery of meals to thousands of elderly residents said that those citizens will no longer be able to be provided those meals. Other programs across the state are reporting that cuts mean looking longer waiting lists for help or elimination of services altogether.
Meals on Wheels is the stop gap that brings a daily relief and allows many many poor, fixed income elderly to briefly exhale from drowning in a sea of hunger, poverty, isolation, frustration and depression
Meals on Wheels America, an organization that represents 5,000 home-meal delivery organizations around the country, is about the experience the pain from budget cuts by a President who ran his campaign stating, “America and Americans First” and “no more forgotten men and women”.
After the budget release, Meals on Wheels America President Ellie Hollander said last week. “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.”
According to the Office of Management and Budget, these groups get about 35 percent of their funding from the federal government and are allocated by the Older Americans Act and distributed by the Administration on Aging within the Department of Health and Human Services.
It Ain’t About People No Mo’ – It’s About The Money
At a Washington White House press conference on March 16th, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney made it clear when commenting about Meals on Wheels when he considered the program as an example of a questionable service funded by the Community Development Block Grant, a $3 billion flexible funding stream provided to states by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. And Meals on Wheels sounds great ― again, that’s a state decision to fund that particular portion too,” Mulvaney said. “But to take the federal money and give it to the states and say, look, we want to give you money for programs that don’t work ― I can’t defend that anymore. We cannot defend that anymore. We’re $20 trillion in debt.”
Another quote speaks volumes about the lack of care and compassion for the elderly.
“ We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. And Meals on Wheels sounds great – We’re going to spend money, we’re going to spend a lot of money, but we’re not going to spend it on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.”
Mulvaney makes it crystal clear inferring that your poor, humble father, mother, grandmother and grandfather who worked hard all their natural lives to help Build America, now are off the Trump radar and are the new “forgotten men and women.”
Missed Are The Powerful Benefits of Meals on Wheels
Nearly 11 million senior citizens received services funded by the Older Americans Act, including 138 million home-delivered meals., according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.
Research has suggests that home-delivered meals help senior citizens live independently in their homes, since the food provides some daily nutrition goals and the social contact with the volunteers who deliver the meals. It also is a safety stop gap if those served suffer a medical emergency.
Be Afraid – More Storms Coming
However, Meals on Wheels in not the only program on the chopping block and in the cross-hairs of the Trump’s “America First” Budget.
African-Americans need be very concerned about this Budget Breakdown and how it will have an immediate and devastating affect on all elderly, poor and disadvantaged Americans:
The following are programs well-known to and in the Black community that are in danger.
- Elimination the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant
- Cuts Legal Services Corporation (Legal Aid) $366 Million (legal services to the poor)
- Cuts Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance
- Eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Eliminates the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA
- Eliminates the $35 million of funding for Section 4 Community Development and Affordable Housing
- Cuts education by $9 billion
- Cuts $4 billion to Student Pell grants.
Reneging On The 1965 Promise
In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Older Americans Act as part of the War on Poverty. It was the federal government’s general effort to promise to keep elderly people from wasting away and dying in severe poverty and hopelessness.
“Under this program, every state and every community can now move toward a coordinated program of services and opportunities for our older citizens,” Johnson said in 1965.
Reading between the lines, according to this administration, you, your mamma, grandmother, granddaddy and wise old uncles and aunts are nothing but throw-away citizens that are not even worth considering.
Budget is Reckless, Cold Hearted, Ignorant & Poorly Calculated
Lee and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus are miffed and vow to fight the complete “dogging out” of the elderly and poor across America.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said the current direction of the administration is unacceptable.
“President Trump’s budget would set our country back and make hardworking Americans suffer by eliminating funding for programs like Meals on Wheels, the Interagency Council on Homelessness, Habitat for Humanity, financial services for people living in distressed communities, and more,” he said. “Trump’s budget would jeopardize the health and safety of the poor, as well as their opportunities for upward mobility. This out-of-touch, callous, and dangerous budget is a reflection of President Trump’s skewed political priorities, not what’s best for middle class families and our country’s economic competitiveness.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings of Florida described the move against the elderly and poor as a sick joke that provides many negative punches and blows against the dignity of those struggling to make ends meet.
He attacked Trumps proposals to eliminate homelessness assistance programs, infrastructure grants, and assistance programs for impoverished Americans.
“President Trump’s budget blueprint sounds more like a bad joke than a proposal for sound policy. His budget sticks it to families across the country, gutting education, research, healthcare, environmental protections, and job security in order to pay for over-the-top partisan pet-projects,” he said. “This outrageous proposal for America’s future is a nonstarter with anyone not on the fringes of the political spectrum. Not only do I object to it, I condemn it.”
He serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.
U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris of California blasted Trumps attacks on the poor, elderly and children stating the first months of his administration demonstrates that the President has shown he is willing to go to extreme lengths to cut core functions to the bone in order to make taxpayers pay for a border wall and give tax breaks to corporations.
“A budget is a reflection of our nation’s values and it’s clear from this proposal, President Trump does not value government’s essential functions of public health, public safety, and public education,” she said. “We will not make our country stronger with cuts to meals and jobs programs for seniors, scientific research to cure cancer, financial assistance to students, diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to make our nation safer, support for farmers, or affordable housing. If you are a child, college student, or senior, live in a rural or urban area, are a worker in need of a safe workplace, or simply want to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and drive on good roads, this budget is a disaster for you and your family.”
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, serving the Kansas City Missouri and surrounding areas and talks of the recklessness of the budget proposals.
“President Trump’s FY18 budget contains significant cuts and changes to several departments that are simply put – harmful,” he said. “This budget hurts working families and makes low-income families and elderly citizens, most vulnerable. I am especially troubled by the proposed cuts to Community Development Block Grants, (CDBG) which are vitally important to urban and rural areas.”
Cleaver can read tea leaves as a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.
Other major programs soon to be impacted in the budget also include the:
- Elimination of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program
- Elimination Choice Neighborhoods program (Eliminated)
- Elimination Self-help Home ownership Opportunity Program
- Elimination the $500 million Water and Wastewater loan and grant program.
- Cuts $95 million from the Rural Business and Cooperative Service
- Elimination the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG),
- Elimination the Economic Development Administration
- Cuts Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps
- Elimination of TIGER Grants to communities for important upgrade projects
While Trump and the Republicans worry about the deficit, who cares about the poor and elderly and who will face the grimmest of realities of survival when the cuts go into effect.
Democratic Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) of Charlotte said it best.
“This so called ‘America first’ budget is anything but that. It turns its back on hard working Americans and puts our nation on a path backwards,” she said.
Maybe President Trump just forgot…The elderly who worked hard and helped “Make America Great” in the first place are the very ones who have been targeted and will be hurt the worst by egotistical desires to enrich the “fat cats”, beef up the military and send a space mission and expedition to the Planet Mars.
We need to stand with the Congressional Black Caucus and fall in lock step with Senator Harris who vowed. “I will fight this budget proposal at every step because middle class Americans are counting on us to stand up for them.”
It’s time to make some noise…What if it was Yo Mama?
By: Darwin Campbell