DENVER (CBS4) – A kitchen in Denver that makes meals for nearly 4,000 people is facing uncertainty under the the Trump administration.
Meals on Wheels provides what is sometimes the only meal of the day for the people it helps.
Dale Elliott of Volunteers of America runs the Denver operation and said he’s worried about the situation.
“Emotionally it’s a little tough because we are serving people that are very vulnerable,” said Elliott.
Nationwide, Meals on Wheels faces a funding crisis. It is being kept alive largely by $3 billion in federal community block grants given to states. But the Trump administration says the programs that spring from those grants aren’t effective.
White House budget director Nick Mulvaney said tax dollars need to address the priorities of people paying taxes.
“We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” said Mulvaney. “Meals on Wheels sounds great, again, that’s a state decision to fund that particular portion of it. 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.'”
Elliott says cutting federal funds will trickle down, overburdening the states and local donors to keep Meals on Wheels alive, leaving poor seniors hungry and without a vital welfare check.
“We would have to not take as many new individuals on to the program and then of course that means that the wait lists would start to grow again,” Elliott said.
The wait list in Denver for the program currently only has approximately 24 people on it. Elliott says that could grow to hundreds without the federal funds.