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Meals On Wheels Feel The Pinch Of The Sequester

Meals on Wheels volunteers in Wake County.
Meals on Wheels of Wake County

The automatic budget cuts or sequester handed down from Washington are starting to affect North Carolina organizations that serve seniors.  Meals on Wheels of Wake County says they got the news last week.  Sequestration means they will lose funding that equates to 12,000 meals a year.  Alan Winstead, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Wake County, says he’s confident they will find alternative funding to continue serving hot lunches to 1,300 seniors a day, but the budget cuts have other implications. 

“What makes a big impact is that it really slows our ability to expand the services to meet the existing needs, " he says. "We have over 200 people still on a waiting list."

Meals on Wheels programs across North Carolina will experience some of the same cuts.  Statewide, programs that fall under the Home and Community Care Block Grant will lose close to $750,000.  Winstead says this comes at a time when they should be helping more.

“You know we have the highest demand that we’ve ever had now," he says. "And we anticipate the request for our meals just to go up, in part because the population in our county is growing.  More people are turning 60."

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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