Meals on Wheels programs seeing increase in seniors, decrease of - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Meals on Wheels programs seeing increase in seniors, decrease of volunteers and funding

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Gwen McGiverin looks forward to her Meals on Wheels lunch every day.

"The food is nice but the lady that delivers it is nicer," said Gwen McGiverin, of Cedar Rapids. 

Her delivery comes from Selma Walser who has been volunteering for Horizons Meals on Wheels for 18 years.

"I wish I had more time to visit with my clients because they have so many neat stories to tell," said Walser.

Meals on Wheels programs in eastern Iowa depend on volunteers like Walser. Finding them is becoming more difficult and there's more challenges. The cost of each meal is increasing as funding is decreasing. The federal sequester cut funds to Meals on Wheels programs.

"There's been some challenge with federal funds," said Tim Getty, Nutrition Coordinator for the Heritage Agency on Aging.  "There's also been challenges with the voluntary contributions."

The Heritage Agency on Aging had to cut funds for 54,000 meals here in eastern Iowa. Half of those cuts were made to the Horizons program as more seniors are applying for meals.

"The adult population is growing so there is definitely a need and it's going to continue to grow," said Dianna Young, Director of Horizons Meals on Wheels.

Programs across Iowa hope people will give money or their time to help make sure seniors like McGiverin can still get their deliveries.

Officials with Horizons tell us they haven't cut meals yet because they're hoping donations and grants will close the budget gap. However, if funding continues to be a problem Meals on Wheels programs across Iowa may have to start putting seniors on wait lists. 

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