Sequester takes chunk out of Meals on Wheels funding - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Sequester takes chunk out of Meals on Wheels funding

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Many organizations are feeling the impact of federal budget cuts, or the sequestration, and Meals on Wheels is no different.

98-year-old Marie is trying to get on the list to receive service from Meals on Wheels. "Right not I'm just not able to do the shopping that I need to do and I just can't get there."

Linda Strohl, executive director of Meals on Wheels for Southwest Michigan says they're struggling to meet all the demand. "We currently have a waiting list of 42 people. All of whom need our meals and we can't provide meals for them."

She says they deliver over 250 meals a day to senior citizens, a job that's getting harder. The sequester is taking a chunk out of their budget, an eight percent cut, that's over $60,000. "It's very hard to see seniors waiting for meals that may not have all that long to live."

Not only is this the longest waiting list ever, Strohl says they're forced to cut back their services. Just this week they went from delivering meals five days a week to only four days. Drivers says that's hard for clients.

"I have clients who look forward to this meal everyday," says Dwane Schneider who has worked with the organization for 12 years.

"There is a definite need because sometimes this is the only meal they'll get for the day," says driver, George Waddell.

Strohl says maintaining service to the seniors is priority number one, but it's hard. "We've laid off one person, we've cut hours, we've cut staff and we're doing everything we can not to cut into our service deliveries more than we already are."

And she say-despite budget cuts-they'll do whatever they can to get people like Marie OFF the waiting list. "It would be nice and be good and would help me if I could get on that," says Marie.

Strohl says their funding comes from different sources like United Way and Area Agency on Aging. She says they've taken a hit by the sequester as well.

If you want to help Meals on Wheels you can call 269-925-0137 or donate on their website.

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