The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.

President Trump’s Budget: A Return to Seniors Eating Dog Food?

Anaheim, Calif. (March 17, 2017) – President Trump sent his Budget Blueprint, also known as the “skinny budget,” to Congress yesterday which is focused on discretionary spending levels for fiscal year 2018. While further details will be made known in the future, the initial budget makes investments in defense programs, paid for through deep cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, such as Meals on Wheels.

Anaheim-based SeniorServ is Orange County’s largest provider of Meals on Wheels services to at-risk seniors and relies heavily on these grants that are in jeopardy of being eliminated. “The cuts in the president’s budget hearken to the shocking headlines in the 60’s and 70’s about seniors eating dog food because they couldn’t afford healthy meals,” said Holly Hagler, SeniorServ’s CEO. “Since then, Meals on Wheels programs have expanded to every county across our country, and they have greatly reduced senior hunger and malnourishment. Eliminating funding for the most basic of human needs – nourishing food – shows a lack of understanding of the far-reaching impact of Meals on Wheels programs.”

In response to White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney’s comments on Thursday that programs like Meals on Wheels “don’t work,” SeniorServ board member Lynn Daucher said, “Really? As a former Republican Assemblywoman and former Director of the California Department of Aging which oversees, on behalf of the federal government, the Meals on Wheels Program in our state, I can assure Mr. Mulvaney that hungry seniors do receive and eat the food provided by Meals on Wheels.” Daucher continued, “In Orange County, we have waiting lists of poor seniors because funding has not kept pace with our aging population. I deplore Mr. Mulvaney’s comments about Meals on Wheels.”

The portions of the president’s budget that have been released so far call for the elimination of a number of federal programs, including the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), that provide funding that many Meals on Wheels programs rely on to deliver nutritious meals, safety checks and friendly visits to our nation’s most vulnerable seniors.

SeniorServ delivers over 640,000 meals to nearly 1,300 homebound frail seniors in Orange County who can no longer shop or cook for themselves. To measure its effectiveness, SeniorServ previously conducted independent surveys of 1,279 frail, homebound senior citizens who received their Home Delivered Meals and Case Management services. Results showed that program participants:

  • Experienced a 34% reduction in hospital visits and a 62% shorter stay if hospitalized
  • Demonstrated a sustained 20% increase in sense of well-being
  • Received 141% more referrals to supportive services

Hagler serves on the board for the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Providers (NANASP) and is the president of the state association, Meals on Wheels California; both organizations advocate for Meals on Wheels and other programs serving the elderly. Hagler said, “These proposed cuts target those most in need and the need is greater than ever.”

Hagler will be in Chicago next week at a board meeting for NANASP ( where she and other Meals on Wheels providers will chart the association’s course in response to the president’s budget. In addressing local senior care supporters this week she said, “We are going to fight the good fight because telling just one at-risk senior that we can no longer provide them with a nourishing meal is one too many.”

For more details about the proposed budget cuts or for a direct interview with SeniorServ CEO Holly Hagler, please contact Darla Olson at 714.229-3362 or email For more information about SeniorServ, visit .

About SeniorServ

As the largest nonprofit Meals on Wheels senior nutrition and supportive service provider in Orange County, SeniorServ nourishes the wellness, purpose, and dignity of seniors and their families in our community.

Community SeniorServ dba SeniorServ was incorporated in 1967 as Feedback Foundation which merged with Senior Meals and Services in 2006 to create a new agency with greater capacity, energy, resources, and vision for the purpose of meeting the increasingly diverse needs of the elderly population.


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