Meals on Wheels seniors on edge over Trump's budget proposal

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- President Donald Trump's proposed federal budget cuts have left people in the Bay Area on edge as funding for programs like Meals on Wheels could be greatly diminished if it is approved.

The people who use Meals on Wheels are poor, elderly, disabled, sick, and need help to simply eat. Furthermore, now that many baby boomers are in their early 70s, demand for the meals in San Francisco has tripled over the past decade.

The people behind the program say the service is important to the residents it helps.

Every day Meals on Wheels San Francisco prepares packages and delivers food to more than 3,000 seniors.

But, President Trump's budget proposal has everyone at the agency including its elderly clients anxious about where their next lunch or dinner will come from.

"Right now we actually have more questions than answers," Karl Robillard with Meals on Wheels said.

The question is how much money does Meals on Wheels stand to lose? Half of the San Francisco agency's $14 million annual budget comes from government funding.

When asked about the proposed 18-percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services, Trump's Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, 'We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good."

He also said Meals on Wheels and other similar programs have been identified as "ones that were just not showing any results."

Robillard disagrees with Mulvaney's assessment. "Sometimes the result is the absence of the product. So if you did not have Meals on Wheels then what happens? 78 percent of the seniors in San Francisco fall below the federal poverty line and 60 percent live by themselves; the options are so limited and we're talking about the most basic form of nourishment we can possibly imagine, which is eating."

Jim Fleming delivers two meals a day with extra on Fridays to get through the weekend to Rosa Witkower in San Francisco's Forest Hill neighborhood.

Rosa is 89 years old, survived the holocaust in Paris and has this to say about Mulvaney's accusation that Meals on Wheels isn't showing results. "I disagree with that."

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