As President Donald Trump visits one of his golf courses this weekend for the 10th time since taking office less than two months ago—at a taxpayer cost of about $2 million per trip—volunteers are flocking to support Meals on Wheels, a national assistance program that Trump’s draconian budget proposal could partly defund.
Meals on Wheels America spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette told CNN that the aid program, which delivers about a million meals a day to millions of seniors, veterans, and others across the U.S., has seen a 500% spike in the number of volunteers signing up to help after the Trump administration announced its cruel and reckless budget proposal this week.
Meals on Wheels also received 50 times the normal amount of daily donations on Thursday, CNN reported.
Defending the proposed cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $3 billion Community Development Block Grant that would affect Meals on Wheels and other vital assistance programs, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the government “can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good—and great,” The Washington Post reported. With no hint of irony, Mulvaney called the proposal “one of the most compassionate things we can do.”
That sparked outrage on both sides of the political aisle, the Post noted, with Florida Republican Gus Bilirakis saying he has helped deliver food through the Meals on Wheels program, and California Democrat Linda Sánchez saying the Trump administration is “literally taking food away from seniors.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the nation’s wealth divide, travel– and security–related expenses for the billionaire president could cost taxpayers at least half a billion dollars over the course of his four-year term, if Trump indeed lasts that long.
The block grant ranges from 3-30% of the funding used by 5,000 individual local chapters of Meals on Wheels, and the White House has proposed eliminating the grant entirely. Luckily, all kinds of concerned and caring people are fighting back.
According to Metro Meals on Wheels executive director Patrick Rowan, “The good news is that it has rallied folks around the cause and reminded folks that they can't really take these kinds of services for granted,” CNN reports. “It’s reassuring that the public has stepped up.”