Federal cuts to Binghamton's Meals on Wheels

By Chelsea Bishop

Federal cuts to Binghamton's Meals on Wheels

March 5, 2013 Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 1:45 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The impacts of the sequester, as expected, are far reaching. This includes to programs like Meals on Wheels.

Binghamton Meals on Wheels serves an average of 350 seniors a day.

Hot lunches and fresh dinners are served door-to-door to those who aren't able to cook for themselves.

Officials said contributions from seniors and the federal government add up to nearly 60 percent to 70 percent of their funding.

Without that money, leaders say it would be difficult to maintain the program.

Although Meals on Wheels is a volunteer service, money is needed to buy and package food, cook the meals, and to reimburse any gas costs.

The impact of the federal cut is not yet certain, but the senior program is preparing and already looking for ways to save.

"Could we deliver meals fewer days, would there be any other funding sources that we could secure, could we look at weekend meals, could people be willing to contribute a little bit more to the cost of the meals," said Kathy Bunnell, director of the county's Office of Aging.

Bunnell said seniors who are already in the program are not likely to be affected, but they may not be able to take on any additional clients, regardless of need.

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