Charity. How does it work?
President Trump unveiled his new federal budget proposal this week, leaving big government lovers in full on meltdown mode.
One of the programs on the chopping block is Meals on Wheels by way of a Community Development Block Grant.
Despite numerous reports to the contrary, Meals on Wheels is not wholly federally funded:
Meals on Wheels, a program that supports the delivery of meals to seniors who cannot afford food or cannot prepare it, started in Australia and has been in the United States since 1954. The program serves 2.4 million seniors every year and does get funding from the Community Development Block Grant program.
But the situation is complicated and saying that the budget eliminates the Meals on Wheels program is factually incorrect. According to the Meals on Wheels annual IRS filing for 2015 (it isn’t a government program), approximately 3.3% of its funding comes from government sources. Most is from corporate and foundation grants, with individual contributions the second-largest source. Government grants are actually the fifth-largest source of revenue.
If its portions of block grants were eliminated, the program wouldn’t suddenly disappear. However, the organization says that it already cannot keep up with growing demand from seniors who need help. In addition, Meals on Wheels passes funding down to 5,000 local groups that provide food, and they additionally might be affected by the funding cut.
Meals on Wheels further clarified their funding situation:
The nationwide Meals on Wheels network, comprised of 5,000, local, community-based programs, receives 35% of its total funding for the provision of congregate and home-delivered meals from the federal government through the Older Americans Act, administered by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living. Other federal funding sources that support Meals on Wheels program operations may include the Community Development Block Grant, Community Services Block Grant or the Social Services Block Grant. In addition, programs rely on contributions from state or local governments, private donations and other resources to cover the rest, demonstrating one of the best examples of a successful public-private partnership. Meals on Wheels America, the largest and oldest national organization representing senior nutrition programs across the country, receives only 3% of its funding from the government, specifically to run the National Research Center on Nutrition and Aging.
Without federal funding, the program would need to compensate with private donations…which is exactly what’s happening.
According to Meals on Wheels’ VP of Communications, the organization received ” 50 times the normal amount of donations” and a 500% increase in volunteers:
Donations and volunteer sign-ups to Meals on Wheels surged, the group said, in the hours after President Trump’s administration on Thursday pointed to the public-private partnership as an example of government spending it can no longer defend.
“We received 50 times the normal amount of donations yesterday,” said Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications at Meals on Wheels. These were donations to the national group, Meals on Wheels America. “Local programs fundraise individually and we can assume that there was likely a groundswell of local support, as well,” she said.
The group also “saw an almost 500 percent jump in volunteer sign-ups through our AmericaLetsDoLunch.org Ad Council website,” Bertolette said.
The popular meals program for the homebound elderly serves 2.4 million seniors a year, including half a million veterans in need of food assistance and home visits.
Who would’ve imagined that private citizens might step in to help in the absence of government?
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