Meals on Wheels could see steep cuts in funding

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Mobile Meals is already in dire need of money, and federal spending cuts only threaten to make things worse.

Lena loves sitting and chatting any day of the week. That's one reason she loves food deliveries. Lena says, "We talk and talk and have fun."

The biggest reason she smiles? She wouldn't eat without Meals on Wheels. Lena says, "I'm not able to cook and they have good food."

Senior nutrition is at risk. If congressional domestic spending cuts take effect March 1, Meals On Wheels Association of America faces more than 5% in funding cuts. Here locally, in our 16 county region, that means 200,000 fewer dollars, a loss of about 30 thousand meals. Director of East Tennessee Area Agency on Aging Aaron Bradley says, "The concern we have is there is a short window to make cuts."

The cuts come at a time when Meals on Wheels already faces fiscal trouble because of the recession. Knox County's program already has a waiting list for the first time in several years. Bradley says, "What we may do is look at four days instead of five or even three days a week instead of taking someone out of program."

Lena would prefer fewer visits over none at all, because without those meals, she'd end up in a nursing home.