March 20 2017
ABC News is reporting that Meals on Wheels has seen a dramatic uptick in donations from individuals since the Trump budget plan could result in funding cuts for the organization:
Meals on Wheels, a non-profit program that serves senior citizens around the U.S., has seen its online donations surge since President Trump’s administration released a budget proposal that could result in funding cuts for the organization.
The White House released its proposed budget early Thursday, and during the course of that day, online donations to Meals on Wheels were 50 times the usual daily total -- $50,000 compared to the typical daily rate of $1,000, Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications for Meals on Wheels America, told ABC News.
The increased giving has continued. By Saturday afternoon, Meals on Wheels had received just over $100,000 in mostly small individual gifts since the proposed budget was released, Bertolette said.
Predictably, Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications for Meals on Wheels America, took the wrong lesson from this surge in donations:
“What is most valuable to us is the fact that so many people are speaking out in support of this public-private partnership and demanding that Meals on Wheels remain a funding priority,” she said.
No, this doesn't show that Meals on Wheels should continue to be a "funding priority." Rather the opposite. It is a strong indicator that, when a charity is worthy and the government doesn't assume the role of the charitable individual, the charity is likely to thrive on its own.
What happened is what is supposed to happen: people, not the government, supporting a charitable endeavor. Meals on Wheels does wonderful work and has become part of the social fabric. If this part of the Trump budget makes it through Congress, individuals will now be called upon to make it happen. It is called charity, folks. It benefits the giver and the recipient.
It is morally neutral when the government merely assigns taxpayer money to a cause, but charitable giving is of enormous benefit for the giver (as Americans, one of the most charitable people on earth, know). Too many of our charities, so called, have become subsidiary to the government, and this enables, I dare say, many less worthy than Meals on Wheels to continue.
By the way, here is how Meals on Wheels receives government funding:
The Meals on Wheels network receives its funding from a combination of state and local funding, private donations and other resources. Bertolette said 35 percent of its funding comes from the Older American Act Nutrition Program. That program's funding could be affected by the White House's proposed cut of about 16 percent to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The exact size of any possible cut to Meals on Wheels is unknown, but White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said, "Meals on Wheels sounds great. Again, that's a state decision to fund that particular portion, to take the federal money and give it to the states, and say, 'Look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work,'" Mulvaney said.
Meals on Wheels serves a population that needs this kind of help, and the the states are still likely to help out with Meals on Wheels funding, even if a reduced level.
But let's hope that charitable individuals will come forward so that Meals on Wheels can be a real charity.
We've lost all sense of what charity is.