Sequestration takes a bite out of Meals on Wheels

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Sequestration could force more than $40 million in cuts to senior nutrition programs across the country. That adds up to some 19 million meals nationwide.

Federal funding covers a portion of the funding. State money and donations pay for the rest of the program.

It's why Dennis Butler is a man on a mission on Wednesday.

"I look at it as more than just a job," he said.

He's delivering a daily meal to Delores Raushenberger.

"I really need it," she said.

She's one of nearly 200 Scott County seniors to get the food. But the federal budget stalemate is slicing into the program at Milestones Area Agency on Aging.

"It makes me feel very bad because the program is necessary for at least older people," she said.

That's why Dennis is making the rounds with Rep. Dave Loebsack, (D-Iowa).

"I lot of times, people that I deliver to depend on this," Dennis said.

He's really like a lifeline during challenging times.

"He can ask them how they're doing," Rep. Loebsack said. "Are they taking their pills? Are they doing the right things they need to do just to survive?"

These deliveries provide more than just meals. It really offers food for thought.

"It might be their only contact for the day," said Christa Merritt, Milestones Area Agency on Aging. "Although it's a very short amount of time, it's very important to them."

Organizers say it's important to restore funding. These recipients are more than numbers. They're real people.

"I know the clients really count on it," Dennis said.

Seniors like Delores Raushenberger depend on the meals.

"I think it's very important," she concluded.