Oswego County safe from proposed federal Meals on Wheels cuts

OSWEGO, N.Y. – When President Donald Trump announced his budget plan last week, it included a proposed cut to Community Development Block Grants.  Those grants provide funding to dozens of community programs including Meals on Wheels.  This has people in Oswego County concerned for the program’s future. 

The Oswego County Office for the Aging feeds about 850 elderly people every year with its Meals on Wheels program.  Office for the Aging Administrator Sara Sunday says those 850 clients don’t need to worry about the President’s proposed cuts yet.

“Our home delivered meals are funded by the Older Americans Act funding, title three, and there’s been no mention to date of cuts to that funding for us,” Sunday said. “We’re optimistic that that funding will remain so we can continue to provide those meals.”

The Oswego County Meals on Wheels program isn’t actually Meals on Wheels. Even though their website labels it as such, it’s not technically part of Meals on Wheels America. That means it doesn’t receive funding from Community Development Block Grants, so it wouldn’t be affected by Trump’s budget. But Sunday is still concerned that future cuts from the new administration could eliminate funding to the program, forcing unwanted changes.

“I’m always very concerned about any possibility. We certainly are looking to see how it may affect us, and how it may affect our clients, and coming up with backup plans to be able to address that,” Sunday said. “An additional cut in federal funding will probably have a negative reaction to meals that we’re able to provide.”

But even if the meals are safe from cuts for now, not all services offered by the office are so lucky. Trump’s proposal does mention the low income heating energy assistance program, which the Office for the Aging uses to assist seniors with heating bills.

“Being in Oswego County on a day like today where it’s 20 degrees with that wind blowing, not receiving those heating assistance dollars is really gonna be detrimental to our seniors,” Sunday said.

But it isn’t all negative; since reports of cuts to their funding have circulated, Meals on Wheels America has seen an increase in volunteers and online donations. And while the Office for the Aging hasn’t seen any significant increase as of now, Sunday says she is hopeful that they may see an outpouring of goodness in the future.

If you’re interested in donating to the Oswego County Office for the Aging, you can visit their website