WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 20, 2011, 10:20 PM

Meals on Wheels could be victim of MN government shutdown

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's a program thousands of seniors in Minnesota depend on for food and nutrition. But could a possible Government shut down suspend Meals on Wheels and force seniors to fend for themselves?

Meals on Wheels provides seniors with a hot, balanced meal at a fraction of the cost...but as I found out today, it's a program that could possibly get suspended in the event of a Minnesota government shut down on July 1st.

R.J. Kinzler – Meals on Wheels Coordinator Moorhead-Dilworth: “It would put a lot of people in Harms way. They count on this meal, really, a lot of people live on meals on wheels.”

The Moorhead-Dilworth Meals on Wheels program provides 170 meals a day to seniors and vulnerable adults at a cost of $6.50. But the average cost to seniors....just over $3.00

Kinzler: “If this program isn't available to people, they can become really destitute. I have a lot of clients that are that vulnerable.”

Due to the sensitive nature of the program, no users wanted to go on camera. Today some good news came from Governor Mark Dayton's office. He has put food assistance programs on his list of critical services that should remain in the event of a shut down. But nothing is for certain yet.

Kinzler: Our seniors have lived their lifetime and they've given to their communities. They've worked, they've raised their kids. And now, it's younger people's opportunity to rise up and take care of them.

The decision now lies with the Ramsey County District Court, which will hear the petition for a continuation of essential services this Thursday, June 23rd.