Valley Meals on Wheels group uneasy about President's proposed budget cuts

Posted: Updated:
Meals being prepared for delivery by volunteers.  Friday 17 March 2017 [Source: 3TV/CBS 5] Meals being prepared for delivery by volunteers. Friday 17 March 2017 [Source: 3TV/CBS 5]
Proposed Federal budget cuts causing concerns among Valley agencies that provide assistance.  Friday 17 March 2017   [Source: 3TV/CBS5 News] Proposed Federal budget cuts causing concerns among Valley agencies that provide assistance. Friday 17 March 2017 [Source: 3TV/CBS5 News]
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The first outline of President Trump’s 2018 budget has valley agencies that serve the elderly and disabled uneasy.

The Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) helps provide nearly 200 meals through its meal delivery service each day.

While most the group’s funding comes from city funding and donations, about one-third of its budget comes from Federal funding. Executive Director Deborah Arteaga calls the President’s plan to cut $3 billion from the Community Block Development Block Grant uninformed.

The group gets its funding through its umbrella organization, The Area Agency on Aging, said Arteaga.

“Any cuts would mean a cut in services whether that be fewer meals or fewer clients that we served,” she said.

The President’s blueprint says the grant which helps fund Meals on Wheels programs hasn’t demonstrated results and isn’t well targeted to the poorest populations.

“There’s a lack of understanding that this is a cost-effective program," said Arteaga.  It prevents unnecessary and early move assisted living, it prevents unnecessary moves to the hospital so the cost effectiveness is unknown.

The Arizona Community Action Association estimates more than a quarter million low-income Arizonans will be impacted if the proposed budget cuts stand.

John Mead, 71, is a client that worries about the President’s proposed cuts.

“I’m sure that he has no trouble missing meals. He said in several of his speeches and rallies before he was elected (that he wanted) to help some of us that need it in the United States,” said Mead.

“Please don’t cut meals,“ said Jacqueline Titchenor, a program client.

Titchenor, 54, is disabled and says her daily meal delivery means more than just lunch or dinner.

“It’s somebody for me to interact with because I don’t always have visitors. I know at least once a day someone’s going to come with a bright smile and a nice meal,” she said.

The TCAA says deliveries also serve as a wellness check for clients.

“It’s very important that we see these people every day so they have someone to rely on and the family relies on to keep them informed of any changes,” said Kathy Flores, Home Delivery Meals Manager.

Volunteers typically drive the same route to develop a relationship with clients so they’re able to detect when they may be in distress.

“If they have a medical emergency we can call 911, we have many times in the past,” said Flores.

With a final budget proposal expected in months, the TCAA urges valley residents to contact lawmakers and preserve funding for the elderly and disabled.

“It’s hard to imagine any situation where it won’t impact the seniors and the other adults that receive the home delivery service,” said Arteaga.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family