WOWZA! 2 million meals is a lot of meals delivered to the homebound in Washtenaw County. And the best part is that we know we’ve delivered a lot more than 2 million meals. We have delivered friendly smiles, caring hearts, and respect…and it shows. Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels opened its doors (as Motor Meals of Ann Arbor) in 1974. A partnership with the University of Michigan Hospital and Health Systems formed, followed by a name change to align with the national Meals on Wheels Association of America, and here we are today.
The experience of Meals on Wheels, both from the volunteer delivering hot and nutritious meals to the client receiving the care and the helping hand, is invaluable. Seeing clients’ faces light up when the volunteers arrive is pure joy. The relief and gratitude of family members who live far away and are unable to care for older family members as they might wish is palpable.
We are so very thankful to have reached this milestone and we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our volunteers, staff, and donors.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 is the debt ceiling and deficit reduction legislation signed into law in the summer of 2011. This Act also created the “Super Committee” to produce a debt reduction plan with projected savings of more than $1 trillion dollars over 10 years. When this committee failed to come to an agreement, a process known as “sequestration” was triggered to begin on January 2, 2013. (For more information on sequestration: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42050.pdf)
If Congress cannot agree on ways to reduce the total budget, or fails to pass a Budget Resolution, then an automatic form of spending cutbacks will occur. “Sequestration” is a process of automatic, largely across-the-board spending reductions under which budgetary resources are permanently canceled, with no departmental or agency control, to enforce certain budget policy goals.
Most exempt programs are mandatory, and include Social Security and Medicaid; refundable tax credits to individuals; and low-income programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program; and Supplemental Security Income.
Senior meal programs, as well as all other programs authorized by the Older Americans Act (OAA) are subject to the automatic spending cuts of sequestration. Current projections indicate a 7.8% – 8.4% cut in funding will occur in January of 2013.
What does this mean for older adults in Michigan, and across the U.S.?
If sequestration occurs, over $1 million dollars in home-delivered meal funds will be cut in Michigan alone. This funding translates into over 1.4 million meals for over 15,000 homebound Michigan seniors for one year. Across the country, over 17 million older adults will no longer receive home-delivered meals.
This reduction will exacerbate an already growing number of seniors who face food insecurity. In 2010, over 14% of seniors in Michigan faced the threat of hunger. Nationally, the number of seniors facing this threat has increased significantly.
Food programs protected from sequestration include Child Nutrition Programs (School Lunch, School Breakfast), Child and Adult Care Food, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. But ,Senior Nutrition Programs are not protected. Congregate and home-delivered meal programs deserve parity with these other federal nutrition programs also serving vulnerable populations (children, low-income individuals).
There are very real consequences to funding reductions for seniors and older adults: compromised health, poorer nutrition, increased isolation, and higher risk of falls and injury. Reduced energy, muscle strength, functionality; reduced skin integrity; susceptibility to infection; and longer, more frequent hospitalizations are just some of the effects of under- and malnutrition. A 64 year-old suffering from hunger is likely to have the functional limitations of a 78 year-old.
The consequences will cause huge negative ripples throughout our public health and our social services infrastructure.
Support Meals on Wheels and help us end senior hunger! Contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to work out a budget agreement without automatic spending cuts to Older Americans Act programs! To find your Representatives and Senators go to: http://house.gov or http://www.senate.gov.
Every year on Thanksgiving, many people celebrate with a bounty of food. We take a moment to remember the things we are grateful for: our families, our home, our health, and anything else that fulfills our lives. In some cases, it gives us an opportunity to appreciate the things that we may normally take for granted during our busy, daily lives. But for Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels clients, the nutritious meals and visits they receive from us are appreciated every day.
Without Ann Arbor MOW and the people who support our program, many of our clients would not eat. Many would not have somebody to check in on them during the hot summers and the cold winters, and give them a friendly smile to let them know that someone cares. We at Ann Arbor MOW are grateful that we can provide this much needed service to our clients, and we are especially thankful to the staff, volunteers, and donors who make it happen.
Your generosity is more than a nice gesture, it is a life-saving act. Nothing illustrates that more than these words of gratitude from the very people you have touched:
− I don’t know what I’d do without you all. Such a very fine and life-saving program. I thank you all with a very full heart.
− I wouldn’t eat if it wasn’t for Meals on Wheels…may the lord bless all of you.
− The volunteers are excellent—caring, friendly, and very much appreciated by me.
− You’re there to help when I can’t help myself.
− You’re all angels at Meals on Wheels. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
− The meals are such a help for me and there is no telling you how much I appreciate this service. Thank you!
− Everything about it and the blessing of it and the friendly people [are what is most helpful]…God bless you all!
These are just a handful of things our clients say about our service. For all who are a part of the Meals on Wheels family, we thank you.
If you have not yet become involved with Ann Arbor MOW, consider joining our program. Whether through a modest monetary donation or a contribution of your time, your participation can change—and save—the lives of many.
One of the best ways to celebrate our blessings is to provide for someone else in need. It is a celebration that can happen throughout the year, one that is deeply appreciated by hundreds of people. Visit our website for information on how you can donate or volunteer at Ann Arbor MOW.
Imagine trying to cross the street without being able to see the crosswalk signal. Or carrying bags of groceries for long distances while also holding on to a walking stick or a seeing eye dog. Or grabbing a knife without seeing which end is the handle or the blade. These are the challenges that make it difficult for the blind or visually impaired to prepare their own meals.
With our older population rapidly increasing, so is the population of people with limited or no sight. Over half of the world’s blindness is due to age-related cataracts. Other causes include age-related macular degeneration and diabetes, afflictions common in older adults. Over 80% of the world’s blind population is over 50 years old. For our clients, low vision is related to, or in addition to, other conditions that make it difficult for them to leave the home.
On October 11th, World Sight Day will be observed around the world to raise awareness about visual impairment and efforts to prevent avoidable blindness. However, for the MOW population, treatments or cures for their vision problems are either unavailable or unaffordable, and the meals we deliver allow them to eat a hot, nutritious meal that they might not otherwise be able to prepare.
“Due to my eyes and hearing…I am very grateful for your help. Thank you.”
-Meals On Wheels Participant
The service Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels provides meets the needs of hundreds of people with a variety of limitations. Many are older adults with age related conditions, while others may have disabilities that are unrelated to their age. Some may be temporarily homebound for a minimum of three weeks. Others may need meals delivered indefinitely.
If you or someone you know in Ann Arbor has difficulty obtaining meals on a daily basis, MOW may be able to help. Visit our website for eligibility requirements. Eligible clients are served regardless of age or financial status. Each delivery includes a hot meal and a cold meal, both include a beverage.
To apply for Ann Arbor Meals On Wheels, call (734) 998-6686 or email email@example.com for more information.