Meals on Wheels Reacts to Proposed Cuts

President Trump's preliminary budget plan causes concerns among organizations

STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - The White House's preliminary budget plan could lead to major cuts across our region. Local organizations fear their budgets will be slashed, as President Trump puts more emphasis on national defense spending and immigration control.

The cuts would take away $3 billion from Community Development Block Grants. Those grants help fund organizations including Meals on Wheels and Head Start.

You could easily mistake Terry Herzberg for a delivery driver. But he's actually a volunteer helping the at-risk elderly.

"This is a much more meaningful ministry than I ever could have imagined,"says Terry Herzberg, Meals on Wheels volunteer.

Meals on Wheels goes house-to-house giving senior citizens food and friendship. In Monroe County alone, the organization helps up to 200 people a day.

"Some of these people, I may be the only person they saw today," Herzberg adds.

But volunteers worry their warm meals may have a cold future.

The federal government's budget proposal could slash funding to community-based non-profits, including Meals on Wheels.

Herzberg adds, "there's just no way this program should even be considered for cutting. This is ground level, good roots care."

Monroe County's Meals on Wheels executive director, Heidi Fareri, doesn't want senior citizens to be alarmed. She stresses so far, this is just a proposal.

"Republican leaders have already indicated that is going to undergo a lot of revision. So I'm not panicked about this in any way," she explains.

Fareri adds, there's other ways the organization finds funding, from the state lottery to private donations.

She says, "I think the explanation of what is happening is rather long, and I don't want to create fear where there is no fear."

Eyewitness News reached out to Monroe County Head Start's executive director. He says he is watching and waiting, but not speculating about proposed cuts.

We'll learn more in coming months when the full budget proposal is presented to Congress.


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