MEALS ON WHEELS PROGRAMS WARN THAT ONONDAGA COUNTY SENIORS ARE AT RISK TO GO HUNGRY WITHOUT FUNDING INCREASES
As of November 1, 2016, the four Meals on Wheels Programs in Onondaga County, who receive federal and state funding, have established a “Waiting List” for eligible frail and homebound seniors, who need home delivered meals.
The affected agencies are Meals on Wheels of Eastern Onondaga County (formerly FM-JD), Kosher Meals on Wheels at Jewish Family Services, North Area Meals on Wheels and Meals on Wheels of Syracuse. Waiting lists for meal service, from all four agencies, are necessary at least through April 2017, if not longer.
These programs provide nourishing hot and cold meals, case management, nutrition counseling, daily social contact and safety checks to homebound older adults and disabled adults in most parts of Onondaga County.
Increasing senior hunger in the United States has been a serious problem for decades. One in fourteen seniors in New York State age 60 or older is reported to be food insecure. Over the past few years Meals on Wheels has increased their services in double digit percentages while government funding has been flat, resulting in this funding shortfall.
Mason Kaufman, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Syracuse states, “Our agencies will try to fund meals but, when our assistance funds run out; I don’t know what we can do. We fear the waiting list will affect more than 60 homebound seniors through April. It costs about $1,200 to feed 5 seniors two nourishing meals a day for one month.”
Individual donations are welcome. The local Meals on Wheels agencies are also asking for concerned members of the public to join the #Seniorscantwait effort by going to www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/take-action/advocate/seniors-cant-wait/email-congress to sign the national Meals on Wheels America petition and send it to their federal representatives.
Additionally, they encourage calls and letters to local and state legislators to add urgency to the call for official action. Congress has between now and December 9th to reach a final agreement and invest further in “Older American Act” Programs including Meals on Wheels.
About the Meals on Wheels Programs in Onondaga County:
Together the four Meals on Wheels Programs will provide more than 439,000 meals to 1,300
homebound seniors and disabled adults in 2016.
Meals on Wheels of Eastern Onondaga County serves Fayetteville, Manlius, Jamesville, Dewitt, Lafayette, Tully, Fabius, Pompey, and other areas of eastern of Onondaga County. 315-637-5446, www.fm-jdmealsonwheels.com
Kosher Meals on Wheels at Syracuse Jewish Family Service serves all of Onondaga County. 315-446-9111 ext: 256, www.sjfs.org
North Area Meals on Wheels serves North Syracuse, Cicero, Mattydale, Village of Liverpool, Clay and areas in Baldwinsville, Brewerton and Bridgeport. 315-452-1402, www.namow.org
Meals on Wheels of Syracuse serves the City of Syracuse, Nedrow, the Onondaga Nation, Skaneateles, Jordan and Elbridge. 315-478-5948, www.meals.org