Trump’s Cut To Meals On Wheels Could Be Huge Loss For Chester County

CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (CBS)–Every day hundreds of meals are prepared at the Chester County Food Bank.

Last year, they served over 90,000 meals and delivered to senior citizens throughout the county. It’s all part of the Meals On Wheels program which may have its funding cut if President Trump’s budget proposal is approved.

“We received about 35 percent of our budget from government contracts, so it would be a huge loss if that were to go down,” said Jeani Purcell, with Chester County Meals On Wheels.

The president’s budget blueprint calls for cutting 18 percent of federal funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. Thirty-five percent of the budget for Meals On Wheels comes from the older Americans Act administered by HHS.

Twenty-one percent of the Department of Agriculture could also be slashed.

Phoebe Kitson, director for agency and community partnerships at the food bank, describes those potential slashes with two words: devastating and instantaneous.

All of the food is paid for and delivered by the federal government, but with massive cuts proposed to the Department of Agriculture, those working here at the food bank say all of this food could soon be gone.

“Once that budget passes, it will almost be instantaneously affecting us,” Kitson says. “We’ll see within three months, four  months, five months, less food being offered through the system.”

Kitson says all local food assistance programs like the local Meals On Wheels would be affected, since less food would be arriving.

And she believes staff will have to get creative in order to keep these shelves stocked.

Kitson says,“We need to be smart. Look for funding. Look for grants. Look at foundations. Look for fun fundraisers that people like to do.”

The Chester County Food Bank is holding an open house on March 25. For more information or to volunteer, please click here.

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