White House Didn't Claim Meals on Wheels Doesn't Get Results
But its budget could be disastrous for the nonprofit program anyway
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2017 2:32 PM CDT
Volunteers Dick and Janice Harper deliver Meals On Wheels to seniors in Dayton, Va., Monday, March 21, 2016.   (Nikki Fox/Daily News-Record via AP)

(Newser) – The Trump administration has been under fire after Mick Mulvaney reportedly said funding cuts to Meals on Wheels are justified because the program is "just not showing results." But in fairness to Mulvaney, the Washington Post reports that's not what the budget director actually said. When he made those comments during a press conference Thursday, Mulvaney was talking about CDBG, the community development block grants program. While some states do allocate CDBG money to Meals on Wheels, most of the nonprofit's funding comes from a different program in a completely different department, Meals on Wheels spokesperson Jenny Bertolette says. She says the amount of CDBG money that goes to Meals on Wheels varies widely from state to state.

Now in fairness to those concerned about the future of Meals on Wheels, which feeds 2.4 million seniors every year, Trump's proposed budget includes a 17.9% cut to the Health and Human Services Department, where the majority of funding for Meals on Wheels does reside. The budget doesn't specify how that cut would impact the program's funding, but the assumption is it isn't good. That could be why, as CNN reports, donations to Meals on Wheels were 50 times their normal level on Thursday and volunteer sign-ups were up 500%. Bertolette calls the support "amazing" and "very overwhelming." Meanwhile, Quartz notes that for the $16.5 million taxpayers are estimated to have paid for President Trump's five trips to Mar-a-Lago this year, Meals on Wheels could feed nearly 6,000 seniors for a full year.

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