Threat of a Cut

TERRE HAUTE, IN - Hundreds of seniors in many Valley communities rely on Meals on Wheels. But these days there's uncertainty surrounding the service.

President Trump's proposed budget could slash the funds that federal meals on wheels programs receive.

This proposed budget cut could eliminate $3 billion of the Community Development Block Grant Program which provides money for the federal Meals on Wheels program.

Because of that, one local agency in Terre Haute expects to see an increase in their need and assistance if the cut goes through.

"We have seen an increase in volunteers and we're very thankful for that," Rita Kapernak said.

The threat of eliminating funds for one of Terre Haute's local federal Meals on Wheels program is alive and well for Kapernak.

She's the executive director for the other Meals on Wheels program locally which is non-profit.

"Our program right now won't have any changes other than we're expected an increase for people who will no longer qualify for their program."

Federal Meals on Wheels programs have very strict guidelines for the elderly and low income community to qualify. Terre Haute's federal agency is under Area 7.

Kapernak says if their participants no longer qualify, they'll likely seek assistance from her non-profit organization.

"I know that it will have an impact. Two years ago they had a big cut and it drastically impacted our recipients that we have."

Which means she expects to seek additional grants to assist the low income community.

"We can't ever promise that we will have assistance money, it's just whatever we can raise."

Rita says without volunteers, their program wouldn't exist. Volunteers deliver two meals to 65 to 80 homes five days a week. Not only are their services to keep the community from hunger, but from potential danger. In just the last month, two participants were transported to hospital care after a check in.

A community effort that will have to step up... if the program sees growth in its population.

 "I'm very worried about what impact it's going to have with the people who participate with Meals on Wheels."

Last year 36,500 meals were delivered by the non profit Meals on Wheels that's both to the elderly community and some youth.


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