Shore Seniors Brace for “Meals on Wheels” Cutbacks

State funding cuts from the Department of Aging threaten local “Meals on Wheels” programs, including those across lower Shore counties.

The Salisbury Independent writes of coming budget cuts that loom over the regional service agency MAC, Inc., who provides services including “Meals on Wheels” to thousands of lower shore residents across four counties:

Locally, Meals On Wheels began 43 years ago with 4,000 annual deliveries. This year, with about 885 participants over a 12-month period, the number of deliveries is expected to exceed 82,000.

According to Karla Beardsley, Program Dietitian, meals provide at least one third of the recommended daily nutritional needs.

. . .

MAC is anticipating a reduction in state funding of more than $113,000 — effective July 1. This reduction is the result of a reallocation of funding across the State of Maryland,

This reduction in funds will result in a loss of more than 15,000 meals for frail elderly on the Lower Eastern Shore. An estimated 120 to 150 seniors will initially be impacted, and waiting lists for nutrition services will be created or extended.

MAC is working on finding solutions to close this unexpected funding gap, and to ensure that MAC can continue the critically important service of providing meals to homebound seniors.

More information on the lower shore service agency’s program from the MAC website:

Meals on Wheels

The Home-Delivered Meal program, better known as Meals on Wheels, provides a critical service to the home-bound, frail elderly, with the goal of improving health through adequate nutrition, and helping them to age in place. The program is open to those age 60 and older who are not able to get food and prepare their own meals due to illness or physical disabilities.

Program staff not only deliver a noon meal, but also serve as a safety check for these frail seniors who live alone. Because the frail elderly are at an increased risk of medical emergencies, falls and accidents, the routine meal delivery ensures that in case of an emergency, someone is coming into the home.

Meal deliveries also help break the isolation, as the meal drivers may be the senior’s only contact with the outside world. In addition, the Meals on Wheels drivers serve as a link to other community resources that may be needed.

Meals-On-Wheels-MACFor more information on MAC’s home-delivered meals, or if you’d like to make a donation to help MAC continue to provide food to Shore seniors who need it, please call 410-742-0505 or visit macinc.org.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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