All around the country, Meals on Wheels programs are being forced to decrease the number of people and meals that they serve due to gas price increases and the skyrocketing price of food. Ideally, these food delivery programs would supply food to everyone who is homebound but, even before the current problems began, service was limited to those sixty years old and above.
I wonder if most people really understand what cutbacks in Meals on Wheels services will mean. This isn't just some nice little extra food that communities offer to a few older people. For many people, this is the only food they eat each week. Have you ever survived off of one meal per day? Have you ever had to survive off of one meal per day for several years? What about if you had to do it for a couple of decades? The toll that this takes on a person is immeasurable.
Many of those who do rely on Meals on Wheels must do so because they have disabilities that make it impossible for them to go out and purchase and/or prepare their own food. In this situation, even if you qualify for the food stamp program, you may still starve because the program makes no arrangements for those who are homebound.
I remember when I was completely homebound and had to have everything prepared for and served to me. If it weren't for the fact that I had The German here, I would have been in the same situation as many of the senior citizens who rely on Meals on Wheels.
It was extremely frightening to think about how the only thing standing between me and life-threatening starvation was the fact that The German was physically capable of and willing to care for me. Since his accident and the resulting brain and back injury, he has had to deal with his own disabilities and mine. I don't know what we'd do if one or both of us required the kind of care that I needed for several years. Even though the amount of assistance that I need has decreased dramatically, as he and I get older, the likelihood that we may face such a scenario will increase. For many older couples and individuals, this is a reality that they are currently trying to deal with.
I can't even begin to explain how bitter I am when I think about how this country is willing to allow people to die from starvation and how that starvation will severely affect people with disabilities in particular.
Articles on Meals on Wheels Cutbacks
"Fuel prices are forcing Meals on Wheels programs in Hocking and Athens counties to reduce the daily delivery of some hot meals, as well as what is the only contact some elderly clients have with the outside. Beginning Monday, both counties will deliver hot meals only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, along with frozen meals for clients Tuesdays and Thursdays. Similar changes might happen in the next year for the nearly 3,000 people served in Franklin and Madison counties if prices continue to rise."
"Hawai'i's largest Meals on Wheels program expects to cut 233 O'ahu senior citizens from its home-delivery food service in three weeks because extra state money it has relied on for years will dry up next month."
"Fancier entrees, like tilapia and roast beef, are gone. And some clients who who used to get a fresh, hot meal every day, will soon get all their food delivered on one day: one hot meal and four frozen ones to last them the rest of the week. On weekends they have to find their own food."
"In Detroit, shut-in seniors on the waiting list for federally subsidized hot meals face a harsh reality: They won’t get help unless someone currently in the program drops out or dies. Some seniors have been waiting for more than a year."