The Meals on Wheels Association serves hundreds of disabled senior adults in our area, and they are hoping the city will maintain their funding, as they wait for the city’s new fiscal year budget.
Last year, the organization said its funding was slashed by $180,000, which forced officials to cut 100 people from the program — some of them, like 100-year-old Isabelle Robinson, are still on a waiting list.
Robinson's granddaughter, Debbie Davis, takes care of her and said she could use the extra help that Meals on Wheels provides.
“On June 4, she will be 101. To say a waiting list really shocks me because of her age,” Davis said. “My concern is I want to get out to work and I can’t do that. … Meals on Wheels would be very helpful to me, and the funding, it’s just not trickling down enough to help the variety of people who are waiting. There’s a lot of people that are waiting.”
Exactly 840 people, according to Tourea Robinson, director for Aging True at Meals on Wheels. She said it's an offshoot from last year's budget cut.
“It was a tremendous impact, because it came on top of federal cuts due to sequestration and some of our USDA funding, so it forced us to cut 100 people from our service,” Robinson said.
She said the waiting list will keep growing if the organization doesn’t receive $125,000 in additional funding from Jacksonville’s Public Service Grant.
“When we submitted our application in March, our wait list was at 740 people,” Robinson said. “Today, it’s at 840 people. It’s only growing.”
On average, there’s about $2.1 million for area organizations to pull from, according to Aging True.
Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Love told Channel 4's Tim Pulliam that the city’s pension reform and low property values are affecting the amount of money that can be issued.
“If we had more money we’d love to give more money to public service grants but unfortunately it’s taking a hit like all of us,” Love said. “It’s a great cause. It does a great job of serving the senior citizen who is homebound, and I want to urge folks to go online and make a contribution. It would be a opportunity to serve those in need.”
Robinson said if Meals on Wheels doesn't receive the money it needs from the city, officials will likely seek other sources of funding and will have to rely heavily on the community for donations.
Meals on Wheels expects to learn Friday the amount the organization could receive from the Public Service Grant Committee.
For more information or to donate to Meals on Wheels, go to http://www.mowaa.org.