Arlington, VA, May 11, 2016 – Today, Members of the Meals on Wheels America staff and Board of Directors met with more than 25 Members of Congress and/or their staff to continue to build on the bipartisan, bicameral support that exists for Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs, like Meals on Wheels, and to urge an increase in funding for these programs at a total of $848 million in any FY17 appropriations bill. This is an increase of nearly $14 million over current funding levels and matches the levels included in the President’s FY17 budget request.
In addition to advocating on behalf of the more than 9.6 million American 60+ who face the threat of hunger, the Board Members involved in the day’s meetings were also representing the seniors in their home districts and states. They included:
Liz Seman, Chair – Greenville, SC
Executive Director of Corporate Engagement, Furman University
Former Executive Director, Meals on Wheels of Greenville
Ashley McCumber, Vice Chair – San Francisco, CA
CEO and Executive Director, Meals on Wheels of San Francisco, Inc.
Sandra Noe, Secretary/Treasurer – Merrillville, IN
Executive Director, Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana
Vinsen Faris, Immediate Past Chair – Cleburne, TX
Executive Director, Meals-On-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties
Sasa Olessi Montaño – Ewing Township, NJ
Executive Director, Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing
“It is critical that we sit down with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to convey the real impact inadequate funding for our programs has on the seniors in our communities and the nation as a whole,” said Liz Seman, Chair of the Meals on Wheels America Board of Directors. “We can either invest a modest amount in proper nutrition for our nation’s most vulnerable seniors now, or spend significantly more on the adverse consequences that will develop in healthcare costs later. Meals on Wheels truly delivers so much more than just a meal.”
In addition to increased appropriations, the agenda also focused on support of H.R. 4942, the DELIVER Act (Delivering Elderly Lunches and Increasing Volunteer Engagement and Reimbursements). This bipartisan legislation seeks to bring equity and fairness to the millions of volunteers who enable Meals on Wheels to reach isolated, homebound seniors. The expenses incurred while using personal vehicles to cover meal delivery routes do not come close to the current charitable mileage rate of 14 cents per mile, which has remained unchanged for nearly two decades. In contrast, the standard business rate is currently 54 cents per mile. Read the text of the DELIVER Act here.
The visits were scheduled in conjunction with the annual observance of Older Americans Month – a special month established first by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 to celebrate older Americans and honor the important contributions they've made – and continue to make – to this country.
About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America's seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.