Meals on Wheels America, the organization dedicated to providing food and company for home-bound senior citizens, has quickly become a flash point of President Donald Trump’s budget proposal.
Trump’s proposal, which was released Thursday, included an end of federal funding for the program as part of the White House’s overall 17.9 percent reduction to the Department of Health and Human Services’ budget, per Mashable. That move was quickly denounced by both conservative and liberal politicians and activists, and many outraged people decided to donate time and money to Meals on Wheels in response.
Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications at Meals on Wheels, told Yahoo News that the organization received 50 times its typical amount of donations on Thursday, as well as a near-500 percent increase in volunteer sign-ups.
In that regard, Meals on Wheels joins the list of organizations that have seen a spike in public support and donations from Trump’s critics.
Planned Parenthood received 300,000 individual donations in the six weeks after Trump’s election, 40 times its usual rate, per The Guardian, and many made their donations under Vice President Mike Pence’s name. The American Civil Liberties Union reported that during the weekend Trump issued his first executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, it received $24 million in donations, six times the total it normally receives in a entire year, according to the Washington Post.
In a statement criticizing Trump’s proposed budget, Meals on Wheels said it feared “that the millions of seniors who rely on us every day for a nutritious meal, safety check and visit from a volunteer will be left behind.” The organization receives 35 percent of its funding from federal programs, including the Community Services Block Grant and Community Development Block Grant, which Trump’s budget would eliminate completely.
However, as Mashable reports, most of the organization’s federal funding comes from the Older Americans Act, and Trump’s proposed budget does not detail exact cuts to that portion of the law.