Many of you have called or emailed to ask how the proposed federal budget could impact MIFA, especially our Meals on Wheels program. It is gratifying to see national and local concern about the potential loss of Meals on Wheels federal funding, which has received significant media coverage since the release of the President’s Budget Blueprint.
As a MIFA friend, past or present volunteer or donor, I know you care deeply about this critical program.
Many local Meals on Wheels programs rely on funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant. MIFA does not receive funding from this source for meals. (We do receive HUD block grant funds for other programs.)
However, MIFA’s Meals on Wheels does receive federal funding through the Older Americans Act administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is evident that this federal support MIFA receives is at risk.
The reality is, with or without potential budget cuts, federal funding for Meals on Wheels is failing to keep pace with the growing need. According to a 2014 Plough Foundation study, nearly 3,700 Shelby County seniors are food insecure. The Aging Commission of the Mid-South’s waiting list for MIFA meals exceeds 1,000.
Meals on Wheels works. Evaluations conducted by the national Meals on Wheels America organization and locally by MIFA show that the combination of proper nutrition, a safety check, and a friendly visit offers the total package that enables seniors to remain healthier, independent, and out of costly hospitals and nursing homes.
At a time when increased funding is needed, we fear that thousands of seniors who rely on us every day for a nutritious meal, a safety check, and a visit from a volunteer will be left behind. We need your support now.
Please consider a new or increased gift to MIFA for this vital program. You can make your donation here or call Dorothy McClure at (901) 529-4523.
Sally Jones Heinz
President & CEO