Meals on Wheels reported a surge in donations and volunteer signups following the release of President Trump's proposed budget, which would cut the program.
“We received 50 times the normal amount of donations yesterday,” Jenny Bertolette, vice president of communications at Meals on Wheels, told Yahoo News Friday. “Local programs fundraise individually and we can assume that there was likely a groundswell of local support, as well."
Bertolette said the group also "saw an almost 500 percent jump in volunteer sign-ups through our AmericaLetsDoLunch.org Ad Council website."
Trump’s proposed budget blueprint eliminates funding for Meals on Wheels, a program that provides meals for the poor, elderly and veterans. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the decision during a press briefing Thursday.
“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” said Mulvaney. “Meals on Wheels sounds great … but to take the federal money and give it to the states and say, look, we want to give you money for programs that don’t work — I can’t defend that anymore."
Meals on Wheels, which provides food to individuals who are unable to leave their homes, says it served more than 219 million meals to 2 million seniors last year.
The organization said that 35 percent of its total funding for congregate and home-delivered meals comes from a program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Updated: 3:44 p.m.