Triad, NC -- It's a service you may not think about until you or a loved one needs it: Meals on Wheels. Thousands of seniors in the Triad rely on the service. For some, it's their only hot meal. However, budget cuts because of the sequester will cut thousands of dollars and meals.
Agencies in the Triad are just learning about the severity of these cuts. They're trying to figure out how to feed as many people as possible and do more with less. Right now, the Triad counties of Alamance, Davidson, Forsyth, Guilford and Rockingham must slash $10,522 from their Meals on Wheels budgets, which amounts to more than 2800 meals.
Some seniors also rely on "group meals," where they go to a community center or church to get fed. Those programs face even larger cuts -- $31,585 in the five Triad counties, and, about 9600 meals.
"I'm very concerned because we know the waitlists are large now and they're going to grow," Blair Barton-Percival, director of the Area Agency on Aging said.
Senior Services of Forsyth County spokeswoman Robin Modica said, "These are our frail and our elderly. It's hard to tell an 89-year-old woman you're going to put her on a waiting list when she can't stand and cook at the stove."
Forsyth County DSS Division Director of Adult Services Diane Wimmer said, "You take that support away and you're looking at increased costs of people moving into institutions, which cost everyone a lot more money."
In July, those cuts will basically double which will amount to a $20,000 cut for Meals on Wheels, or about 5500 meals.
Group meals will face more than $61,000 in cuts, or more than 18,500 meals.
In October, more cuts could dig into these programs, too. Right now, it's a game of trying to find ways to both raise money and move funds around to prevent anyone from going hungry.