Budget cuts are forcing ‘Meals on Wheels’ in Jefferson Parish to reduce the number of people the agency helps.
Darian Trotter tells us how local grocery stores are getting involved, and how you can help.
Norbert Dunn is on the receiving end of Jefferson Parish’s
‘Meals on Wheels’ program.
“I don’t get out too often and this here gives me a meal I know is nutritious and helpful,” Dunn said.
But the program that helps senior citizens is in jeopardy.
There’s been no increase of state and federal funds in recent years, and other contributions have gone down.
Making matters worse, the cost to provide meals has gone up.
“So we can no longer serve the same number of meals we’ve been serving,” said Albert J. Robichaux, Executive Director of Jefferson Council On Aging.
The nutrition program currently serves 1,050 people.
In an effort to balance the budget, the agency will have to reduce that number to 850.
The good news is no one will be cut from the program.
“But the problem with that is we have a waiting list so while we are taking people off through attrition, the people on the waiting list are going to stay there and more people are going to be added to the waiting list,” Robichaux explained.
It means fewer seniors in need will be served.
The sick, the shut in, and those without family help.
“It would be so devastating,” Dunn said. “There would be a lot of people going hungry.”
“The elderly people need these meals,” said Shirley French, the daughter of a recipient. “A lot of them can’t cook for themselves.” “They have no one to help them.” “So the meals are very important.”
Dunn says without daily balanced meals, he’d turn to less healthy choices.
“I guess have more fast food outlets or go to frozen food,” Dunn said.
Since word of cuts was first announced several local grocery stores have stepped up to help.
If you’d like to donate to meals on wheels, just visit http://www.jcoa.net/ or call (504) 888-5880.