Charitable Americans Spark Surge in Meals on Wheels Donations, Volunteers

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | March 17, 2017 | 5:17 PM EDT

American charity surged on Thursday, as citizens took it upon themselves, rather than the government, to support the Meals on Wheels program amid concerns the Republican budget might cut federal funding.

Financial donations skyrocketed to 50 times their normal level, and the number of volunteers quintupled, a spokesperson for the Meals on Wheels program told Friday.

Meals on Wheels America Vice President of Communications Jenny Bertolette told

“We received 50 times the normal amount of online donations yesterday.

“To clarify, this is to Meals on Wheels America to support our national efforts. Local programs fundraise individually and we can assume that there was likely a groundswell of local support, as well.

“We also know that we saw an almost 500% jump in volunteer sign ups through our Ad Council website.”

Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) was one such volunteer delivering Meals on Wheels Friday, though he used Twitter to turn his charitable deed into a photo op:

On Thursday, Meals on Wheels America issued a statement clarifying its federal funding, which it says accounts for 35% of its total funds:

“The nationwide Meals on Wheels network, comprised of 5,000, local, community-based programs, receives 35% of its total funding for the provision of congregate and home-delivered meals from the federal government through the Older Americans Act, administered by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living. Other federal funding sources that support Meals on Wheels program operations may include the Community Development Block Grant, Community Services Block Grant or the Social Services Block Grant. In addition, programs rely on contributions from state or local governments, private donations and other resources to cover the rest, demonstrating one of the best examples of a successful public-private partnership. Meals on Wheels America, the largest and oldest national organization representing senior nutrition programs across the country, receives only 3% of its funding from the government, specifically to run the National Research Center on Nutrition and Aging.”

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