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7/10/2013 6:00:00 AM
Funding cuts for Meals on Wheels mean Mohave County clients on waiting list
Rocky Hartland relaxes in his dining room, which features a desert wall mural. Hartland, who is recovering from thigh surgery, finds it difficult to cook dinner and fears he will burn himself.
Rocky Hartland relaxes in his dining room, which features a desert wall mural. Hartland, who is recovering from thigh surgery, finds it difficult to cook dinner and fears he will burn himself.

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - For most of his life, Rocky Hartland has been an independent, self-sufficient man.

In the 1960s, Hartland set two West Coast speed records in Crackerbox boat racing with his small red-and-white boat named Playmate, clocking in just below 90 miles per hour. His den wall is decorated with trophies won in races and regattas from Seattle to San Diego during that time, as well as two certificates from the Union of International Motorboating for his winning achievements.

A ladies' man who was married three times and loved to dance, especially to West Coast Swing, Hartland flew 180,000 miles to every state in the nation in his small red-and-white Aero Commander Cessna 172 named Playmate VI as a treasure hunter. Hartland, who lived in Las Vegas for 40 years and worked at the Sahara Hotel and Casino, moved to Kingman in 2004 to settle down.

So when the 85-year-old resident fell in his front yard and severely injured himself in March after a large, unknown dog charged him, life dramatically changed. For the first time, after undergoing thigh surgery and two months of physical therapy, Hartland found himself in need of assistance with his meals. The walker and wheelchair he used in his home made it difficult to work in his kitchen.

On the recommendation of friends, Hartland contacted the Mohave County Meals on Wheels program, administered by the Western Arizona Council of Governments (WACOG), to see if he could get daily dinners delivered to his door while he is recuperating.

To his surprise, Hartland was told he would be placed on a waiting list and possibly could receive meals in two or three months.

For Hartland, the delay is too long.

"I've been cooking for myself for years, but it's been very difficult to do it since my surgery," he said. "That's the big problem. I fixed dinner one time since I've been home and while my wheelchair is comfortable, it's dangerous in the kitchen because I could drop something hot in my lap.

"It's common sense that you should get the meals when you need them, and I might only need them for a month. Now I have to take a chance and cook them myself."

Hartland said he first contacted Meals on Wheels by telephone June 13 and left a message, then called back on June 17 when he didn't get a response.

An employee called him July 2 for an hour-and-a-half interview, and when it was over, told him he should hear whether his application was approved in about a month and if so, receive meals in several months.

Elisa Davis, director of the Area Agency on Aging, said not only is Hartland's account of the situation true, but it's the same for anyone else applying for Meals on Wheels.

The Area Agency on Aging is one of three departments making up WACOG and oversees the home delivery of meals. WACOG is a nonprofit association of local governments that provides services to low- and moderate-income residents in Mohave, La Paz and Yuma counties.

"We have a waiting list and I'm not sure how many people are ahead of this man," said Davis. "No one is added to the program until someone else comes off it. That's the way it is for everyone. We hope we can service him soon, but we don't have a lot of options right now because of cuts in our funding.

"My counterparts in other areas are experiencing the same problem. The funds for this program are being cut while the older population is growing."

Davis said the agency is doing everything it can to feed as many people as possible with the money that is available. She predicted Meals on Wheels will serve 83,790 meals in Mohave County from now to June 2014, which is about the same as last year's amount. She said meals cost about $6.50 each to make and deliver, depending on the going price of food and gasoline.

The delay is the result of recent federal and county cuts in funding for the Meals on Wheels program, said Davis. Mohave County nipped its donation in half and will give $196,397 this year. Also, the U.S. Department of Health Administration on Aging cut its contribution 11 percent in April, for a total of $100,905.

Other funding sources this year for the program are $55,252 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $41,813 from the Arizona Department of Economic Security, $10,848 from the state, $39,600 from Arizona's Medicaid system and $39,400 from client donations. Meals on Wheels doesn't charge for its meals but does request donations.

Davis said she hasn't passed on the 11 percent cut from the federal government yet and is hoping to find another way to make up the difference so it doesn't negatively impact the program this year. Davis said the average client for Meals on Wheels is at least 80 years old and under the federal poverty level of $11,490 a year.

"The elderly are our most vulnerable population," said Davis. "A lot of times all they need is one good meal a day to keep them healthy. If they don't have that, they decline rapidly and can end up in a nursing home. With Meals on Wheels, we can spend less than $4,000 a year to feed these people instead of paying $60,000 or more for a bed in a nursing home. What we do here is important. We just need the money to be able to do it."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

It is not true that the county has cut funding for Meals on Wheels and Senior Programs. County funding has increased about $30,000 this year.

There may be reduced funding for the program, but if so that is a result of cuts on the federal or state level, and possible lower private contributions. It is not the result of county cuts.

Hope this clears things up.

Steve Moss
Supervisor, District 5

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Which party swears they are the most moral, godly? Which party swears with a forked tongue to care about the unborn but with that same forked tongue preach hate, unconstitutionally declared wars, assassination, torture, rendition-kidnapping, demonizes the poor, the sick, the elderly as lazy shiftless, deserving of their fate and conditions? One guess, they have a elephant for their emblem! I guess when all is done and said and we all meet Jesus the question will be did you ignore the poor, hungry the naked those sick and in prison and does Jesus know you or not!

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

@ Origional Kingman Resident

Your reply to me was a very nicely composed right-wing propaganda piece similar to the nonsense spewed from Murdock's Fox News to the gullible.

From Forbes Magazine's David Davenport:
"Do you remember what was said when the budget sequester took effect more than two months ago? President Obama warned in February that, thanks to sequestration, “all our economic progress could be put at risk.” ......

Forbes can't be considered a "liberal think tank" by any stretch of the imagination! So even you Republicans know that your congress created it! You can't have it both ways, Mr. Original Resident!

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew


“Sorry to disappoint you, the sequestration was initiated by the president.”

Nope, still wrong and always will be wrong.

“He is even on record stating that he would block any attempt by the Republican controlled House of Reps to legislate the sequestration away.”

And wrong again. Honestly you need to stay away from right wing shouting head radio shows and websites. They are never good for one’s mental health.

“…blame the Repubs…”

Of course, they are responsible for this mess.

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Jack a Lope

Rocky, IF you are able to drive, Cornerstone Mission off of Armour provides meals to ANY BODY who walks in the door between 4pm and 6pm. be there before 5:30 though, it SHUTS DOWN @ 6:00

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ Allan Gleason

Sorry to disappoint you, the sequestration was initiated by the president. He is even on record stating that he would block any attempt by the Republican controlled House of Reps to legislate the sequestration away.

There are many places that the 2% cut in increase of spending could have been taken that would not have affected citizens like the ones needing Meals on Wheels. But again, we look to the president who made sure that these 2% cuts in the increase in spending would be taken to provide the most pain to the people. He wanted people like you to do exactly what you are doing, which is blame the Republicans.

There is no excuse for 13 Trillion in debt. There are numerous accounts in the news every week of unnecessary government spending. The Republicans wanted to put a budget in place to deal with these 2 issues. However, Obama and the progressives want to expand government and the many areas of waste and abuse in spending, which are the programs and departments where democratic donors and presidential donors are recompensed, or departments that create onerous regulations upon the people.

Even the most fiscally conservative Republican will tell you that a society need to take care of the ill and elderly who are unable to care for themselves. The problem is that the president and the Dems did not want to compromise. Either they were going to get a budget to fund their unending wish lists, or they were going to damage the Repubs by hurting the every day citizens with any budget cuts being taken from the most needed programs.

You, Allan, and many of the other commenters here, are doing exactly what the President hoped he could trick you into doing, blame the Repubs and hold Obama completely blameless. You complain that the Repubs are hurting seniors, when what the Repubs really want to do is to stop the generational theft from your children or grand children's generations that our debt will impose.

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Thanks to the sequester

Meals on Wheels is one of the things that have been cut by the sequester. The main effect of the sequester has been to hurt people who can least afford it.

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Did not the county just get a grant for several hundred thousand dollars and used it for a library or museum? I often say Mohave County is a republican dominated county, hence if this is compassionate conservatism I surely will never vote for them!

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: vock canyon

I wonder if the other BOS members would give up their county suv's to pay for meals on wheels?????

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@allan gleason

"The cut in funds from the Feds is from the "sequester" which was passed by our illustrious congress. The President and his wife had nothing to do with that!r"

Funny how the sequester cuts have not interfered with things like obama's highly important vacation tour of african "begger nations, or caused him to have to cut back on his all important golf outings because of the security and other costs.


Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tanjay Littlebar

You can thank our wonderful governor Jan Brewer for this. Obama has nothing to do with it.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Big Mac

If a politician takes $ 10.00 out of your pocket with the pretense of buying a poor person a meal don't you want to see that $ 10.00 go to that meal? Or is it ok for them to buy a vote or kickback with it? When the BOS/County is taking in plenty of money for all humanitarian needs they should take care of those needs. Not buy votes.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Most of Us Would Help Out

There is a point where our local government has to stop lavishing themselves in perks and start fending for their electorate. We have to make the County do with our money what needs to be done and not what they LIKE. This county squanders far more money than would be needed to take care of the needy. The Feds can continue to support the sec. 8 electorate

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

I see that the self-centered "me" folks are still at it! I guess they're just a fact of life.

The cut in funds from the Feds is from the "sequester" which was passed by our illustrious congress. The President and his wife had nothing to do with that!

Its sad that local tax payers can't come up with some modest plan to enable our elderly and disabled to have at least one meal per day.

I'm well over eighty and most certainly not a cook nor on MOW, either! Rather than cook I go the microwaveable frozen dinner route. You can get a reasonably good meal (almost too much food for me) for about two bucks. The only drawback that I see is the lack of salad... but then, salads aren't cooked, are they?

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: LOST ON ME MR.C.

@ C.C. Helping one human being to be all they can be, even if it turns out to be "only" a one meal a day, meal on wheels and make it sound like "one more case of welfare !!!" You must have a monetary interest in a long or short term care facility, In desperate need of medicare and medicaid funds or the Republicans have chosen you, to become idiot of the year.

Please don't apply for that position with my party, we have enough applicants already.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: be tarin

I too would be happy to make an extra plate for this man, or the next person on "the waiting list". We need to be kind & help our neighbors out, a true person in need, not the lazy ones sucking on the system when they is nothing wrong with them to get off their fanny & get a job (I could name a few...)

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Mohave County compassionate conservatism in full glory! They vilified the poor as lazy, shiftless, desiring poverty, welfare, slum section 8 housing, then they vilified the unemployed, shame on them for their jobs going to India and China, called them lazy, shiftless not desiring to work, always said when they beat those two first dead horses till they would not twitch no more they had the elderly in the wings as their next cause shame on them for getting old, disabled, feeble, living to long to collect that meager social security check Takes no rocket scientist to figure who Jesus will put into that flock of goats come judgment day!

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Audra J

Rather then blame everyone else for what they are doing wrong, why not stand up as a community and help with this problem. No we do not have the ability to change the the entire government and all the wasted spending, but we do have the ability to change it in our own community. There are so many things that we can do to help with this problem. Look at the overwhelming response Meals on Wheels revived for Thanksgiving last year. I was in tears to see how many people came out to help deliver meals for people on the holiday. I mean is there a way to sponsor someone in need of food and prepare it for them and deliver it a few times a week. What can we do as Mohave County residents to help with this waiting list and get these people the care that they need.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Frederick Williams

I would be only too glad to deliver TV dinners to Rocky. I exist on them when my wife is not around as I do not know how to cook and they are very good these days.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman mom

Too bad there's not an option to pay for the meals and have them delivered. They should look at that type of option - sometimes people need the help and would pay for the meal to be delivered to them! We had meals on wheels for my dad before he passed away - it was a huge help had they asked for some money per each meal we would have gladly paid just for the service!

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Mom Of 3

After my father passed away my disabled mother had a very difficult time trying to cook for herself. It got to a point where she couldn't stand in the kitchen long enough to cook something on the stove. Since she lives alone and is on a fixed income she was referred to a program called "Mom's Meals". They do not deliver hot meals like meals on wheels but, the quality and variety of food that they offer is rather surprising. My mother receives a box delivered by FedEx once every 2 weeks. The box is full of frozen meals and also comes with bread, jell-o, juice etc and the menu of available options for the next box. My mother calls the company twice per month and tells them what she wants. She gets 10 meals every 14 days. I have the phone number, menu and other information about the program if Mr. Hartland is interested I would be happy to help him with this. I believe that WACOG also runs this program but I think you have to specifically ask for it. Anyhow, just an idea. Please contact me if I can help.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Two New Sherriff Deputies

The estimated cost of the two Deputies that the BOS wants for Co City is
$ 200,000. This would cover the Meals shortfall. Looking at the statistics Co. City already is in the bottom 1% ranking for crime in the state. If Co. City wants two new officers, let them form a tax district for themselves for this.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: New Buildings

"Mohave County nipped its donation in half and will give $196,397" but the BOS can take millions from any account they have "to pay for shortfalls" like new buildings. The money would be there to feed EVERY Mohave County resident if the BOS cared as much about us as their own perks. And what about that $ 500k from the lottery?

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Morris

If I lived in Kingman I would be there in a heart beat to help this person or anyone..No one Deserves to be scared or Hungry at this age or any age No matter who they are..
Surely there is some one in Kingman that would help because I know of some great people there.
If I can be of any assistants Please let me know..It doesn't help when individuals are cussing our government or Republicans as some said..It is the Entire Government doing this..That poor gentleman doesn't need to hear this except I will be there...If these individuals feel so strongly about this then they need to Stand up and say Enough is Enough...

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Jack A. Lope

since this is partially funded by the county, and last year the county said the HAD to cut some spending, and since the county just UNEXPECTADLY received more money than they thought they would, maybe this is where it needs to go.

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