Not many programs were birthed from the heart and perpetuated by the human spirit like Meals on Wheels. The program brings much needed assistance to millions of seniors. It seems impossible that the program could be threatened by an administration or circumstance and yet it is.
The True Value of Meals on Wheels
The concept behind this program originated in the United Kingdom. It started during the Blitz, where many people in the country lost everything.
Homes were destroyed during these trying times, but the people behind the Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defence saw an opportunity to make a difference. The idea was to simply bring prepared food to people who needed it, which is how the program started.
The program has transformed over the years and through different cultures, but the core idea remains the same: to help people. The program delivers food to the needy, to those who cannot prepare their own meals, and to elderly people.
Meals on Wheels did not officially arrive to the United States until 1974, and many welcomed the program.
The program is under attack under the new President of the United States. It seems that the current administration believes the program is not being run correctly. The officials seem to believe that Meals on Wheels is not targeting the people that need this service the most, which makes it ineffective.
These statements were made as the administration announced that it was planning to cut funding to Meals on Wheels. It should be noted that the program is already suffering. Data shows that the program, as a whole, has had to reduce the number of meals delivered by 23 million since 2005. This is on top of the fact that the program’s waiting list is growing, which shows just how greatly the program is needed.
Some will likely point out that Meals on Wheels will be just fine without the financial support it receives from the government. There probably is some truth to that since the program’s budget states that only around 3 percent of its revenue comes from the government. Most of the program’s revenue actually comes from companies and good-hearted people.
The problem here is that the program can use all the help it can get. Charities and other similar initiatives are always going to give more than they receive.
It is very hard, some might say impossible, to make a profit from helping people. Furthermore, no charity should really begin by hoping to make a profit off of giving but rather give as much as possible. The key thing to understand is that the reward is that people are ultimately helped by the program.
Meals on Wheels delivered 219.4 million meals in 2015. That is a large number, and it also represents the number of victories this program has had. For the administration to say that this program shows no results is quite a stretch.
The Other Side of Meals on Wheels
There are additional services that Meals on Wheels provides that some may overlook like companionship. Many seniors that are visited by the volunteers of this program are lonely and rarely get additional visitors.
Human beings are naturally social creatures, so giving lonely seniors an opportunity to meet with others should have a positive effect on some.
It should be pointed out that some people cannot prepare a meal without considerable strain due to some type of disability. Forcing people with debilitating afflictions to prepare their own meals by stripping away help could actually put some of these people in danger. Many people know that elderly people have been known to trip or fall, which could be fatal.
Meals on Wheels helps minimize the need for an elderly person to have to cook, and it provides a visitor who will also make sure everything is okay.
Some seniors also have trouble knowing if food is safe to eat due to afflictions that hinder the sense of smell or taste. This puts the senior in unnecessary risk. Thankfully, the good people in this program help feed some of these people. Seniors are happier with the assistance and also get to eat healthier, too.
No one is saying that the program is perfect. There are surely a few changes that can be made to target more people who are in need of help.
There are bound to be changes in policies that could make Meals on Wheels an even more effective program. Perhaps, some of these policy changes can connect the organization to the people who need it. It should also look for people who want to be involved.
Change should be welcomed because the goal should always be to improve, but cutting funding is a step backward. Cutting funding seems like it would hurt the program rather than help it.