Meals on Wheels program faces budget cuts

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:14 PM

From chicken to vegetables, workers stay busy preparing some of the 350,000 meals served each year for residents of three West Michigan counties, despite reduced state funding and a growing need.

The Meals on Wheels program for Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana counties is administered by the Muskegon-based AgeWell Services. The nonprofit organization's executive director, Sharon TerHaar, said they are doing what it takes to prevent a waiting list from forming, although they have lost 32 percent of the program's funding — a nearly 20 percent drop since 2009.

AgeWell Services officials are discussing options to save money while maintaining their present services. TerHaar said they are looking for a long-term solution.

Meanwhile, the Meals on Wheels program has increased from 1,225 meals a day in 2010 to its current 1,625 a day.

“It’s getting harder and harder,” TerHaar said.

To qualify for the program, residents must be either age 60 or older, or be otherwise homebound, or have a nutritional or physical need.

While officials look for ways to continue providing the services, volunteers remain busy delivering meals to 5,000 people a year out of the kitchen at Tanglewood Park in Muskegon.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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