The simple but life-changing ways Meals on Wheels helps seniors in need.

The Trump administrations's preliminary budget cuts at the heart of things that make America great.

It eliminates funds for coastal research programs that prepare regions for storms and rising water levels. It reduces work-study aid for college students. It cuts poorly performing Job Corps centers. It limits funds for United Nations peacekeeping. It eliminates the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the umbrella organization for PBS and NPR. And that's not even half of it.

‌Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images. ‌


One move that's getting a lot of backlash is the elimination of Community Development Block Grants.

The $3 billion program provides funds for neighborhood development, job creation, affordable housing, and anti-poverty initiatives, most notably Meals on Wheels.

Josephine Yaroz, 90, sits in her dining room after receiving a food delivery in Montague, New Jersey. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious lunches to seniors who apply. Participants can pay a suggested donation, but no one is turned away if they can't pay. Since clients must be home to receive the meals, MOW volunteers provide consistent contact and social support for people who may not have either. The program also serves lunches at meal sites and dining centers around the country. Anyone over 60, regardless of income, is invited to dine in. Some of the centers also provide classes and outings for seniors.

Tom Neville sits with Marie Connors after bringing her a food delivery in Hainesville, New Jersey. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

For the people who use Meals on Wheels, it's quite literally a lifesaver.

Yet it finds itself under the knife. It's unclear just how severely the loss of the block grant would affect the organization. Just 3% of the national organization's funding comes from Community Development Block Grants. 35% comes from the Older Americans Act, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is also facing drastic cuts. But while the national office may not heavily rely on CDBGs, state and regional Meals on Wheels programs often do. There's a lot of uncertainty.

Tom Neville arrives to a nutrition center with a Meals on Wheels food delivery. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

No matter how you slice it, if federal cuts occur, people will go hungry.

There's no doubt this is a valuable program worth keeping.  Here's a look at Meals on Wheels impact by the numbers.

1 in 6

The number of U.S. seniors who struggle with hunger. That's just over 16%, or about 7.7 million people. ‌‌

Gertrude Robinson, 97, receives a Meals on Wheels delivery from the Sullivan County Office for the Aging. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

2050

The year the population of seniors will have doubled, to reach nearly 90 million people. ‌‌

Carolyn Gruber, 91, receives a Meals on Wheels delivery in Glen Spey, New York. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

51%

The percentage of Meals on Wheels home-delivery clients who live alone.

Joseph Horecky, who is 90 and has a vision impairment, in his kitchen after receiving a Meals on Wheels delivery. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

87%

The percentage of Meals on Wheels participants who are physically unable to shop for groceries.

Meals on Wheels driver Jim Fleming delivers food to Yvonne Jarkowski in San Francisco. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

‌But for every alarming statistic, there's hope and good news.

92%

The percentage of Meals on Wheels participants who say the program helps them to remain living in their own home.

Doris Murch, 85, sits at her kitchen table after receiving a food delivery. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

‌$2,500-$2,800

The cost of one year of MOW meals for one senior. That's about how much three adults spend on Christmas gifts.

Hannah Meinhardt, 96, receives a hot meal. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

‌500,000

The number of veterans Meals on Wheels serves each year. That's more than enough veterans to fill the Rose Bowl five times. ‌

Veterans commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement. Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images.

2,402,920

The number of seniors Meals on Wheels programs served in 2016. That's like serving lunch to the entire populations of Minneapolis, Denver, Memphis, Sacramento, and Orlando. ‌‌

Tamara Lycholaj, 89, receives a hot meal from nutrition worker Al Patalona. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

217,985,263

The number of meals served by Meals on Wheels programs in 2016. If each meal came with a slice of sandwich bread, that bread placed crust to crust would stretch from Seattle to Miami and back about four and a half times!

A nutrition specialist prepares a meal delivery in Eldred, New York. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

‌Not enough data? There's plenty more where that came from.

Meals on Wheels visits may boost medication adherence rates as much as 14%. Daily Meals on Wheels visits may reduce participants' feelings of loneliness. Meals on Wheels deliveries may even reduce the risk of falling in the home, especially for people who've suffered a previous fall, a particularly high-risk group.

The evidence is clear: Meals on Wheels is vital and necessary.

Like many of President Trump's proposed budget measures, this is a heartless cut that saves very little money in the long term and tears at the very moral and communal fabric that makes this country one of a kind. ‌‌

Cuts aside, Meals on Wheels could use your support today.

You can volunteer in the kitchen or as a driver. Some communities even offer bicycle and walking routes to deliver meals in your neighborhood. If you're able, consider making a financial contribution to the national or a local MOW agency. Whether or not the budget goes through, Meals on Wheels relies on donations to keep the meals, wellness checks, and other resources arriving without interruption. Give what you can, as you're able.

Doris Murch, 85, speaks with Tom Neville after he brought her a food delivery in Lafayette, New Jersey. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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