The Dallas Morning News reported today a heartbreaking decision by the Collin County Meals on Wheels to cut back on services for senior citizens. The article stated that “Evening and weekend deliveries of Meals on Wheels will be eliminated and transportation services for seniors will be scaled back as the Collin County Committee on Aging copes with a $1 million budget deficit.” Lunchtime meals will continue, however services will be provided first to those most in need. In addition to the elimination of some services, they have also had to start a waiting list for services. The chairman of the board, Mark Heidenheimer, said “It is the single most difficult decision we have ever been forced to make.”
Like most consumers, non-profits have also been hit by the recession and increased costs for goods and services. The chief executive officer of Meals on Wheels, Marilyn Stidham, explained that increases in demands for services, higher gas and food prices, and fewer donations essentially outstripped available funding. According to the DMN article, the demand for the agency’s services has more than tripled in the past seven years.
The board has attempted to cope with budget shortfalls by requesting assistance from local governments. However, many municipalities are suffering from their own budget shortfalls and competition for donations is increasing with so many hurt by tough economic times.
Unfortunately, everyone’s budget is being “outstripped’ by the combination of increases in food and gas prices and job losses. Most city governments and many non-profits are being forced to make tough decisions on how to deal with the current economic situation of budget deficits. Without assigning any blame as to how any agency or local government incurred their economic crisis, it is interesting to note that their economic situation is almost always described as a response to a “budget deficit.”
However, when a consumer faces the same situation on a personal level, it is much the same. The point to this comparison is not to point fingers, but just to point out that you shouldn’t beat yourself up for a financial crisis that is plaguing some of the best city governments and non-profit organizations. If we use “financial crisis” as the guideline for who is deserving and who is not, then the reasoning would continue that the seniors in Collin County don’t deserve assistance with meals— and that type of reasoning is just wrong.
The seniors in Collin County have done their service to their community and they certainly didn’t ask for this recession. The volunteers for that organization have been dedicated to doing the right thing. The simple truth of the matter is that sometimes bad things happen to good people. The purposes of the bankruptcy process is to try to make right, some things that went wrong. If you are strapped financially and need help, contact a qualified Dallas bankruptcy attorney to get accurate information regarding your debt management options.