Local Non-Profit Faces Dire Situation - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Local Non-Profit Faces Dire Situation

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SUSSEX CO., Del. - The Sequester is officially in effect, and programs nationwide confront the harsh reality of billions of dollars in cuts, including Meals On Wheels in Sussex County.  With more than 8.8% of their funding on the chopping block, Randy Nelson, Marketing Director for CHEER, says the looming budget cuts definitely have their attention.  "I'd be kidding if I said we weren't very concerned," says Nelson.

Each year, CHEER in Sussex County delivers more than 130 thousand meals to seniors who aren't able get their own food, but organizers say the program is about so much more than that.  It was a trained volunteer who found Sara Jones having a stroke in her home.  "I was on the couch and I couldn't get up," says Jones, who's been living in CHEER housing for nearly a decade.  "I said 'put me up will you?'  I don't remember nothing though.  I didn't know anything that was going on.  I didn't know who I was at that time, and they got the ambulance and everything."

Still hoping for the President and Congress to strike a deal, Randy Nelson admits they don't have a plan for how they would implement any cuts.  "We want to make sure people can live in their homes in an independent, safe, and dignified manner," says Nelson, "and I know as an agency, we're going to do everything we can to do that."

With rising food and gas prices alone, Meals on Wheels staff say they estimate funds could run out by April, so these sequester cuts would really hit the organization hard.  While there's no set date for when the budget cuts will kick in, if a deal isn't met by early summer, CHEER will have to start making some pretty difficult decisions.

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