Future of Meals on Wheels in Charlotte remains uncertain with proposed federal cuts

By Steve Crump, WBTV Reporter

New demands may be put on a moving assembly line that rolls out hundreds of meals each day from a warehouse on southwest Charlotte's Distribution Street.

Lucy Bush-Carter, who oversees the operation, has been part of Friendship Trays for decades.

"For many of the people we serve, this is the only meal they get all day," she said.

Volunteers like Margaret Blanks demonstrate humanity through the actions of delivering prepared meals.

"I think people look forward to our coming, and we look forward to seeing them," Blanks said.

The so-called "them" are people like Carol Bryant who is disabled and home-bound.

She relies on needed help from the outside to provide a daily life line.

"I used to go across the street to get my groceries, and no longer am I allowed to do that because of the kind of stroke I had," Bryant said.

Access to food for people like Bryant is being controlled by the purse strings of federal and state government. President Donald Trump is proposing cuts to the Meals on Wheels program, but the final decision regarding funding in Mecklenburg County comes from the General Assembly in Raleigh.

Governor Roy Cooper wants to add more for meals in the budget. However, it's unclear if state lawmakers will go along with the plan, and that has Bryant asking why.

"You're cutting things of importance, and putting more money into I think weapons or protection," she said.

The concern is that if government dollars do dry up, entities like Friendship Trays may have to pick up the slack.

"We may very well have to pick up some of the slack,“ Bush-Carter said. ”So, we will be looking to the community for some support."

According to a county spokesman, Governor Cooper is asking for an increase in the Meals on Wheels program that adds up to nearly $4 million.