Sequester slashes into Meals on Wheels funding

SPOKANE, Wash. - Meals on Wheels is the latest victim of budget cuts stemming from the federal sequester. They're being forced to scale back on many of their services.

Volunteers deliver to 1000 seniors in Spokane County everyday, and like many non-profits they've had to deal with budget cut after budget cut. The most recent one may be the toughest to swallow as they had a 30-percent growth in clients in the past year.

Seniors only receive one meal a day because of those cuts, and now, the sequester means $6,000 was slashed from the Meals on Wheels home delivery fund. It also decreases funding for group meals by $5,000.

Meals on Wheels cuts

It won't equal fewer dinners, but instead will come from the ingredients.

"What we've been doing is really looking at our menu, seeing what we can eliminate, and still keep a nutritious meal," Executive Director Pam Almeida said.

One reason why the cut isn't deeper is because Aging and Long Term Care dipped into reserve funding. Almeida says that saved the program more than $40,000.

"It's been heartbreaking. When you're having to tell somebody that you know they need that food, but you don't have it to give to them, that's really, really hard," Almeida said.

Employees at Meals on Wheels have had some of their clients sign a table cloth they plan to send to Congress to send a message and ask for more funding.

If you'd like to help or donate, visit http://www.greaterspokanecountymow.org/