March for Meals puts focus on home meal service

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True, Meals on Wheels gets some of its funding from that program.

"We're fortunate in Yellowstone County because we have a lot of different funds that go into our Meals on Wheels program", said Executive Director of the Adult Resource Alliance, BeaAnn Melichar.

Toscano said the nonprofit service, which served 66,000 meals in this area past year, not only provides nourishment and visits to low-income homebound residents, many of them elderly, but it also saves money. However, funding for Meals on Wheels also comes through federal block grant programs, two of which would be eliminated in the proposed budget.

The same is true for other home-delivered meal programs in Hampton Roads, as most don't receive funding from the block grants in question.

"We all talk to each other and try to help each other as well", she said. "For some elderly people in Encinitas, the meal delivered by this great local organization is the only human contact they have all day".

"It costs far more than that to provide a home-cooked meal", she said.

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"Clearly there's a threat of cuts, but we don't know how big the army is coming over the hill", said John Skirven, CEO of Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia. "The federal government, in one form or another, pays for 30 percent of the food we supply", Chris Baca with Meals on Wheels explained.

According to Meals on Wheels America, one in six seniors struggle with hunger, and one in four live alone.

As for cuts to social programs for older people, "I think if they cut it, they need to up Social Security", Shumate said. "To be able to bring food to seniors, and sometimes we're the only people they see".

"We are hoping that when the dust settles and Congress eventually passes a budget that the Meals on Wheels funding will remain the same", he said.

As part of "Champions for Meals on Wheels" week, local politicians, like San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate and National City Mayor Ron Morrison, as well as local business leaders and celebrities are donating their time and talents to help prepare and deliver meals.

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