Food News

Sequestration Cuts Budget for Senior Services: Broward Meals on Wheels Loses $207,000

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Starting July 1, BMOW had to create a waiting list for home-delivered meals for new clients. Now needy seniors will be able to receive services from the program only when others are taken off.

The OAA is considered discretionary spending by the federal government. Unlike entitlement programs, such as WIC and food stamps, it hasn't been set aside from budget cuts that have taken place due to sequestration.

General cuts for nondefense spending were anticipated to equate to 5.2 percent. The reality ended up meaning 8.3 percent at the state level.

The agency was budgeted to serve 1,300 homebound seniors with ten meals -- five breakfasts, five dinners -- per week. Currently, the agency is over that weekly budget by about 60 people.

"Demand is not decreasing; it's increasing," says Adler. "With the budget, we've had to look at serving those most in need first."

Once a year, the agency is funded to perform an assessment on each client. If individuals are no longer homebound or have had a change of living situation -- moving in with friends or relatives -- they are urged to pay for services or are often paired with volunteer shopping programs, in which Good Samaritans go to markets to shop for seniors who have a hard time getting out of the house.

As it stands, BMOW serves 10,000 seniors annually with a budget of $5.2 million.

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Sara Ventiera