EVANSTON — Uinta Senior Citizens, Inc. (USCI) joins local Meals on Wheels programs from across the country in a coordinated paper plate delivery designed to send a powerful message to government representatives about the impact of Meals on Wheels. Throughout the week of Aug. 14, home-delivered and congregate meal programs delivered directly to members of Congress stacks of paper plates bearing handwritten notes, calling for the protection and increase of critical federal funding sources for Meals on Wheels.
Uinta Senior Citizens Inc. delivered 38 paper plates conveying personal messages from staff, volunteers and senior constituents to Sen. Paul Barnard (R-Evanston), Rep. Tom Crank (R-Kemmerer), Rep. Garry Piiparinen (R-Evanston), and Rep. Danny Eyre (R-Lyman).
USCI officials said they decided to become involved in the paper plate campaign so its clients, volunteers and staff could have a voice in the state legislative budget process. Officials said they wanted to make sure local representatives understand how important Meals on Wheels is and why.
When Congress returns to Washington in September, they will have less than a month to determine federal funding levels for the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1. Federal funding accounts for 30 percent of USCI’s annual homebound meal delivery budget and cuts of any kind will widen the existing gap between seniors served and those desperately in need of this lifeline. Any loss in funding would hurt the program.
Officials said if they have to serve one fewer person, that is one too many. “How do we choose who gets to eat and who does not?” they wondered.
The paper plate campaign supports the national Save Lunch (#SaveLunch on social media) advocacy effort led by Meals on Wheels America to urge Congress to save lunch for our nation’s seniors during the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process and make sure that no senior is left hungry and isolated.
As one paper plate from a senior (Ellen) at USCI said, “I’m 93 years old, my hearing and eyesight are poor and I live alone. I can live alone because of Meals on Wheels. If these services are discontinued, I will have to go to assisted living or a nursing home, which I can’t afford. I urge you to continue these services for us old folks, so our quality of life will continue. Please consider us!”
To learn more about the Save Lunch movement and the ways you can take action, visit www.savelunch.org.