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Meals on Wheels delivering message to Congress on plates

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Jennifer DiDomenico
For the News-Gazette
Osceola Council on Aging Meals on Wheels is trying to show lawmakers the impact it makes by serving it to them on paper plates.
In response to possible funding cuts in President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal to Congress,

News-Gazette Photo/Martin Maddock
Above are messages on some of the paper plates that will be sent to Washington in an effort to stop cuts to funding the Meals on Wheels program.

which could include hundreds of domestic programs, Meals on Wheels programs across the nation launched the #SaveLunch campaign. Programs are connecting and spreading awareness via social media.
Each division of the nationwide program is writing messages on empty paper plates to show the impact it makes in the lives of hungry seniors every day. Aging Meals on Wheels Director Wilda Belisle said the Osceola Council on Aging Meals on Wheels has a goal of 1,000 plates and messages. On Friday, each division will share its messages with local officials and senators.
“We don’t want them to hear from us. We want them to hear from the seniors and community members who benefit from our program,” said Belisle. “We want them to see this is affecting people so they rethink [the proposal]. The community has really helped to show their support. We are very grateful.”
While the meal home delivery service isn’t a federal program, nor does it receive direct federal funding, it largely benefits from the community development block grants, allowing states and cities the flexibility needed to help end hunger in seniors in the United States. Trump’s budget calls for the elimination of the block grants. Each of the 5,000 independently run Meals on Wheels programs would likely be affected if Trump’s proposal holds true and is approved.
“We are scared of what could happen,” said Belisle. “We had a cut once before and it really, really affected us. A lot of meals were not served during that time. We don’t want this to happen again.”
According to Meals on Wheels, 81 percent of benefitting seniors say the program improves their health and 92 percent say it enables them to remain living at home. The Osceola division is open to any senior over the age of 60 who cannot cook a meal or does not have anyone to cook for him or her.
For more information, visit or contact Wilda Belisle at 407-847-2144.