In Donald Trump’s first budget, he proposed to cut all federal funding for Meals on Wheels, the program that feeds elderly, low-income Americans.
The White House called it a “compassionate” decision, but apparently, plenty of Americans disagree. And they’re showing their displeasure with their money and their time.
Jenny Bertolette, the VP of communications at Meals on Wheels, told Yahoo on Friday the organization received more than 50 times the normal amount of donations on Thursday and said that it “saw an almost 500 percent jump in volunteer sign-ups through our AmericaLetsDoLunch.org Ad Council website.”
Meals on Wheels also said people used the Twitter hashtag #MealsOnWheels or mentioned the organization on Twitter about 9,000 times an hour on Thursday. It was the same day White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said the administration wanted to stop funding the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program that helps make Meals on Wheels possible.
“You’re only focusing on half of the equation, right? You’re focusing on recipients of the money. We’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place,” Mulvaney said. “And I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say, ‘Look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore … unless we can guarantee to you that that money is actually going to be used in a proper function.’ And I think that is about as compassionate as you can get.”
Said Mulvaney: “We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals on Wheels sounds great … but to take the federal money and give it to the states and say, look, we want to give you money for programs that don’t work—I can’t defend that anymore. We’re going to spend money, we’re going to spend a lot of money, but we’re not going to spend it on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.”
As the Hill notes, more than 219 million meals were served to 2 million senior citizens in 2016.
H/T the Hill