Meals on Wheels concerned about shutdown

The morning sun illuminates the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, as the government teeters on the brink of a partial shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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WICHITA, Kansas – Area agencies are examining just how long they can last and if they can last without their federal money, as long as the government shutdown continues.

That includes Meals on Wheels which has hundreds of area seniors counting on their arrival.

“It’s business as usual, we’re still able to serve the 900-960 clients each day,” says Wichita Senior Services Director of Development Chris Heiman.

But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t concern when the shutdown took effect.

Meals on Wheels provides nearly a thousand area seniors their only hot meal of the day.

Heiman says, “This situation is very unique because of what has caused it to slow down and the uncertainty of how long it’s going to last.”

When news of the shutdown hit, the phone started ringing.

“Our seniors don’t always understand those things and how the system works,” explains Heiman.

Since they’re not a government program, the Meals on Wheels workforce hasn’t been affected.

In fact, they’ll continue to serve meals and will be reimbursed their federal funds once the shutdown ends.

“We’ve had other scenarios like this, and generally we’ve seen no trouble with getting that reimbursement,” says Heiman.

The trouble comes if the shutdown continues.

“If the government continues to furlough and we are not able to access funding to provide the meals, after a three month period we’d look at re-evaluating that.”

For now Meals on Wheels will continue delivery as normal.

Their federal funding makes up nearly 60 percent of Meals on Wheels funding.

The rest comes from the United Way and private donations.



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