President Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes substantial cuts to support services and departments across our nation. I am particularly worried about Trump’s proposed elimination of federal funding for Meals on Wheels.

Last year alone, Meals on Wheels served more than 219 million meals to 2.4 million homebound senior citizens. At a press briefing on March 16 the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, characterized this particular budget cut as “compassionate,” because it would protect taxpayers from putting money toward inefficient or ineffective programs. What?

I am convinced that Meals on Wheels provides valuable and effective services having witnessed this personally and professionally. Food is provided to people who would most likely not be able to prepare healthy meals themselves. Many of the seniors who are served by this program live in rural areas and do not have transportation to grocery stores, and some cannot afford food for balanced meals.

Another positive outcome is companionship. Though they are brief encounters, shut-ins look forward to seeing Meals on Wheels volunteers on a regular basis. That leads to another benefit — safety checks, especially for seniors isolated from family. Additionally, there are volunteer efforts underway throughout Maine to help people “age in place” in their own homes. Readfield and Vassalboro are two towns engaged in such an effort. Meals on Wheels is one of the programs that helps make aging in place possible.

Lastly, Meals on Wheels helps minimize and avoid medical episodes, thus reducing Medicare costs and adding quality and years to lives that matter.

Dale Marie Clark

Vassalboro

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