When the director of Belmont County’s Senior Services heard about President Trump’s proposed plan to de-fund Meals On Wheels, he wasn’t pleased.
But Gary Armitage says their program is too vital to people’s lives to even consider changing what they do.
So he says federal funds or not, senior citizens in Belmont County will continue to get their meals.
Gary Armitage says it could mean a $26,000 loss to Senior Services of Belmont County.
They prepare nearly 1,000 meals a day, most of which are delivered to the homebound.
“Those dollars are significant, but they would not prevent us from fulfilling our mission to provide nutritional support to our homebound people,” Armitage noted.
He said any loss of federal funding has an impact.
But he also said Belmont County is unique in that it is extremely generous in supporting its seniors.
“We’ll do what we have to, in order to make sure the services get out,” he said. “And I want all the people who depend on us to realize that we’re going to make this work.”
They already make it work in an antiquated kitchen, in a 100-year-old building.
They are anxious to move into their new facility, nearly ready.
Their clients do not pay for their meals.
And their daily meal delivery is life sustaining.
“It’s vital to make sure that their nutritional status is maintained, that their health level is maintained,” said Armitage. “And for a lot of these folks, our delivery people may be the only people they see in a day. And so when they’re there, they’re going a wellness check as well on these folks, providing contact with outside world.”
He says it ultimately supports their even bigger mission–to allow seniors to continue to live in their homes.
And for that reason, he says they’ll do this, federal funds or not, one way or another.
“At this point, the people who depend on that nutritional support–they’re going to continue to get it,” he promised.
He said they make an effort to create meals that Ohio Valley people are comfortable with, such as pieroghies and kielbasa and cabbage.