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Donations To Meals On Wheels Soar After Trump Calls For Funding Cuts

SANTA MONICA ( — Donations to Meals on Wheels has jumped after President Donald Trump called for eliminating an anti-poverty program that provides money to the non-profit organization.

Lisa Gumenick and her mom, Cicile, run The Pretenders Studio in Santa Monica, which has raised money for Meals on Wheels West for the past nine years.

She said they felt a greater urgency to hand over a $10,000 check Friday.

"It's a gift for the kids. It's a gift for the parents to know that their kids are a part of this incredible program and making sure that we do our part to take care of our community," Gumenick said.

She was emotional because much of the heavy lifting was done by her young dance students who put on benefit shows to bring in all that money.

Maya Furukawa, 14, said volunteering for Meals on Wheels is very personal to her because her grandmother is a recipient. "I know what it's like to see someone I know receive it," the teen said.

The dancers said their latest effort was more important than ever. "I don't want to see all of this hard work and everything that we've done kind of start to go backward," said 15-year-old Calla Grant.

Freda Mendolsohn, 95, is a recipient of Meals on Wheels because she no longer drives. "I look forward to somebody coming in because I'm home most of the time alone," she said. "I have absolutely no help at all, and it's a necessity."

On Thursday, the national office of Meals on Wheels said it saw 50 times the typical amount of daily donations following the announcement of Trump's proposed funding cuts.

Volunteer sign-ups also soared by 500 percent.

That's why the young ladies said they danced for a difference when they put on their benefit show.

"It adds more to the meaning to the performance," said 12-years-old Anna Jones.

Meals on Wheels West said it will serve 100,000 meals this year, and 17 percent of its budget comes from government funding.

"They work every single day tirelessly to make sure there aren't people left behind in our community and in communities across our country," Gumenick said.

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