President's Proposed Budget Would Slash Meals on Wheels, Affecting Numerous Seniors in the Bay Area | NBC Bay Area
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President's Proposed Budget Would Slash Meals on Wheels, Affecting Numerous Seniors in the Bay Area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    President Donald Trump's outline of his first federal budget is making people all across the nation nervous, but especially one group in the Bay Area. Cheryl Hurd reports.

    (Published Thursday, March 16, 2017)

    President Donald Trump's outline of his first federal budget is making people all across the nation nervous, but especially one group in the Bay Area.

    The so-called skinny budget may reduce spending for vital programs like meals on wheels, which would be devastating to thousands of homebound seniors in the Bay Area.

    The president wants to keep America safe by going lean and mean, but for some that may mean going with out a meal.

    "Meals on Wheels provides half of my nutrition," said Walter Zintz, a 74-year-old Walnut Creek resident who lives on less than $900 a month.

    Zintz has a debilitating back injury that keeps him from working, and if the program that provides him with a meal everyday is eliminated, "I’d be scrambling for food," he said.

    The proposed budget calls for the elimination of the $3 billion community development block grant program that’s one of the sources of funding for Meals on Wheels.

    "We want to make sure our representatives on the Hill know that we are aware of what’s going on, and we want to stand up for seniors who do not have a voice," Meals on Wheels spokeswoman Marisa Melo said.

    The president’s budget proposal seems to shift money away from senior programs and funding for the arts and bolster spending on defense, Homeland Security and veterans' care to the tune of $60 billion.

    The Environmental Protection Agency also would be sliced by 31 percent, a portion that would include programs to combat climate change.

    Meanwhile, Zintz knows Meals on Wheels is an agency struggling financially even before the proposed cuts to the program.

    His message to decision makers in Washington, D.C.: "The government is taking care of you; there's no reason why it shouldn't take care of the rest of us also."

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