Five percent might not sound like much, but that cut in the Meals on Wheels program for Yakima County amounts to $26,000.
Debbie Sugden is the program manager here, and she says the cuts – brought about due to the federal sequestration – means 8,000 fewer meals for Yakima County seniors.
The cuts in the Meals on Wheels program is nationwide and, at least locally, there are efforts to try and restore some of those lost meals.
Sugden says a spaghetti feed fundraiser is planned for Friday, May 16, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Southeast Community Center in Yakima. The price is $7.50 for adults and $4 for children ages 12 and younger.
Sugden says it’s possible a Meals on Wheels fundraiser may be held in the Lower Valley at a later date.
Speaking of the Lower Valley, Meals on Wheels serves home-bound seniors, as well as meals at the Grandview Community Center and Sunnyside Senior Center.
Sugden says the cuts as they stand now will likely mean that the sites receive one less meal per week.
“I’ve been with the program 24 years, and I can’t remember having this big of a cut,” she said.
Virginia Cerrillo is one of the seniors served through Means on Wheels in the Lower Valley. She receives the meals at the Grandview Community Center, and also benefitted from the home delivery program when she was recovering from a broken foot.
“They’re very nice people, they serve good, nutritious meals,” says Cerrillo.
When asked how she will cope with the possibility of one less meal per week, Cerrillo paused and answered, “Well, I don’t know how to answer that.”
Sugden’s hope is that fundraisers like the spaghetti feed will provide that answer.