Just as with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, the Trump administration’s policies have prompted a dramatic surge in donations for the Meals on Wheels program. It’s another example of the phenomenon of “rage fundraising,” where the anger and concerns of donors to progressive and anti-poverty causes threatened by President Trump’s proposed policies and budget have brought about a fundraising boom.
A recent study found that delivering more meals to seniors’ homes results in fewer people going to nursing homes because those capable of living on their own with little assistance can remain at home. Meals on Wheels says it costs about $2,500 to provide a homebound senior with daily meals over one year, about the same as a one-day hospital stay or ten days in a nursing home. The program, which serves 2.4 million American senior citizens, tells CNN and the Washington Post that in one suburb, deliveries could be cut in half if the proposed elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which some states use in part to support Meals on Wheels, becomes reality.
There’s also speculation by the organization that Trump’s budget could slash the Older Americans Act, which funds more than one-third of Meals on Wheels operations, although the actual effect of the budget cuts will not be clear until more details come out. The White House also proposes cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes more than $800 million annually for Meals on Wheels.
But, at the same time, donations have increased, with Meals on Wheels’ national office taking in more than 50 times what it normally raises each day since the White House released its first draft “budget blueprint” last week. The block grants fund a small portion of Meals on Wheels operations nationwide, and some of its 5,000 local branches rely on the funding to varying degrees. (A branch outside Detroit would lose a