In 1987, a group of concerned citizens, Chicago city officials and representatives of area foundations, determined that senior citizens and people with disabilities were experiencing food insecurity and thus were liable to lose their independence, leaving behind their homes, friends and communities. Thirty years later, our partnership with the city of Chicago and Open Kitchens remains strong and together we are providing nutritious meals and human contact to thousands of our older neighbors and those with disabilities.
Our phones have been ringing all day after the Trump administration proposed cutting Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that fund many Meals on Wheels organizations. The city of Chicago receives CDBG funding, but also receives funding from other federal sources, the status of which is unclear. If you would like more information on the status of Meals on Wheels federal funding, please visit: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/national/press-room/2017/03/16/meals-on-wheels-america-statement-on-budget-blueprint. We will keep you apprised of the situation in Chicago when we know more.
First and foremost, it is important to note that President Trump’s budget is merely a proposal. The power of the purse belongs to Congress, not the president. Judging from the outcry from the general public, the media and some congressmen, cutting CDBG grants will not be easy.
Of course, we must be vigilant and active. Please express your support of Meals on Wheels to your representative and Senators Durbin and Duckworth. Meals on Wheels America makes it easy: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/take-action/advocate/call-congress-protect-funding.
While the situation is disturbing at best, there is something incredibly encouraging about the enormous outrage that is roiling in the country right now. People are calling us asking what they can do to help us. It is truly gratifying to receive such support. Fundamentally, they understand, support and revere our mission.
Simply put, home-delivered meals works:
Home-delivered meal programs improve diet quality and increase nutrient intakes among participants. These programs are also aligned with the federal cost-containment policy to rebalance long-term care away from nursing homes to home- and community-based services by helping older adults maintain independence and remain in their homes and communities as their health and functioning decline. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0260106014537146)
Absent a few notable exceptions, everyone knows this and the uproar demonstrates their fundamental faith in what we do.
So, please remain engaged in the fight for funding. Please proudly share your affiliation with Meals on Wheels Chicago. Please contact your representatives. Please encourage your friends, families and colleagues to support us.
Proud to fight the good fight with you,