Every day, volunteers deliver 1,000 warm meals to homebound seniors across Pinellas County. The Neighborly Care Network's Meals on Wheels Program ensures elderly residents receive at least one meal a day. However, organizers say more seniors are being added to their waiting list while funding is decreasing.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, county commissioners considered cutting all social action funding, which included $49,000 to the Pinellas County's Neighborly Care Network's Meals on Wheels program for fiscal year 2012. Commissioners eventually agreed to contribute partial funding, but organizers with Meals on Wheels say it's not enough to meet the growing need.
Agency Spokesperson Sandi Narron says, "Funding for our vital programs been stagnant for the past eight years. Now, in the past two years, our funding has been cut and continues to decline. Unfortunately, while funding has declined the need for services has risen. Presently, we are struggling as our wait list for Meals on Wheels has reached over 600 people."
It is estimated that 40,000 seniors are in need of services in Pinellas County, where nearly 108,000 citizens are over age 75. Of those, 65,000 live alone and 24,000 are below the poverty line. The elderly population is projected to double in the next 20 years.
Watch our video and hear from the following Pinellas County Commission Candidates during the Meet the Candidates Forum in Gulfport on Thursday, Sept. 20.
District 1 At Large
- Neil Brickfield (REP) (I)
- Janet C. Long (DEM)
District 3 At Large
- Nancy Bostock (REP)
- Charlie Justice (DEM)
District 7 At Large
- Buck Walz (REP)
- Ken Welch (DEM) (I)