"Meals on Wheels" Facing Cuts from Sequestration

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Tallahassee, FL -- Bonnie Baxter has been an Elder Care Services volunteer for four years. She knows how much local seniors count on a hot meal every day at the Smith-Williams Service Center.

"Many of the seniors here eat a hot meal once a day, and that's when they come to the center. and if the budget cuts affected that, they would not have a hot meal each day," said Baxter.

The federal sequester in Washington, an across the board budget cut that has an impact nationwide, has reached our elder care service programs locally.

"Elder care services here in Tallahassee experienced a 6.6 percent cut to our overall meals program. What that equates to is about 36,000 dollars in federal funding," said Amber Tynan who works with the Elder Care Services communications department.

The subtractions of that money means ECS doesn't have the money for more than 10,000 meals through the rest of the year. That's about 52 meals a day.

"That's 52 seniors that we've had to call and ask 'can you privately pay for these meals?' Otherwise we're going to have to look at cutting these programs," said Tynan.

ECS has created a special fundraiser to try and get community support to help offset the cuts. In the meantime, volunteers like Baxter hope that the program can find a way to continue to offer the same services.

"They need the center, they need the transportation to get here, they need the meals that are provided," she said.

Elder Care Services says that through private funding and donations they have not had to take any meals away, but as of right now they've had to put all potential new clients on a waiting list for the first time in the program's history.

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