TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – An agency that helps provide meals to the elderly is itself in need of help. Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County is dealing with a critical shortage of funds.
Executive Director Carla Jutson said state and federal budget cuts created a $400,000 shortfall and while private contributions have made up most of that, “We just cannot seem to make up this last $125,000 and we don’t want to reduce services to our clients.”
The program that provides meals to the homebound has seen a constant reduction in government grant funding since 2011. “It’s been a trickledown for the last two years,” Jutson said. “Sequestration is just the latest.”
On average, each weekday in Tarrant County volunteers deliver some 4,000 meals and Jutson says the demand is increasing. “We have more elderly who need our help and they have less other resources to turn to.”
Administrators say they aren’t “crying wolf” and there is not threat of the agency shutting down, but if they don’t raise additional money they may have to reduce services. “We are still in operation. Certainly, we are not going anywhere. We are serving over 2,300 people a day,” Jutson said but added, “We will have to make some hard decisions here in the next few months if we cannot make up the shortage.”
In addition to food assistance, Meals on Wheels also more than 20,000 home visits by professional caseworkers, registered dietitians, and other staff.
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