ENDING SEQUESTRATION & SUSTAINING FEDERAL FUNDING FOR OLDER AMERICANS ACT NUTRITION PROGRAMS
Federal funding has failed to keep pace with the escalating growth in the senior population and need for nutritious meals. This problem is exacerbated by significant increases in food and transportation costs and the impact of the economic downturn. Meals on Wheels programs were hit hard in 2013 by the unnecessary and automatic, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. Unless Congress acts this year, the full force of these cuts will return again in 2016, leading to increased waiting lists, reduced delivery days, layoffs, fewer meals and, in some cases, closing programs entirely.
PROTECTING & STRENGTHENING THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT
The Older Americans Act (OAA) has been the primary federal legislation supporting nutrition, social and preventative services for Americans 60 and older since 1965. OAA programs, including home-delivered and group setting (congregate) meals are vital for seniors who are at significant risk of hunger or losing their ability to live independently. In 2014, the OAA supported the provision of nearly 218 million meals that were delivered to more than 2.4 million seniors nationwide.
SUPPORTING PROPOSALS TO MODIFY THE TAX CODE & INCREASE CHARITABLE DONATIONS
Meals on Wheels programs - whether home-delivered or in congregate settings - could not operate without the generous charitable donations of volunteers. Whether donations take the form of donated goods and services, money or volunteering mileage and one’s own vehicle to deliver meals, we favor modifications to the tax code that can help encourage and increase the charitable donations our programs rely on to serve seniors in need.
IMPROVING ACCESS TO OTHER FEDERAL NUTRITION PROGRAMS THAT BENEFIT SENIORS
There are more than 10 million seniors struggling with hunger today – that’s 1 in 6. In addition to home-delivered and congregate nutrition programs, there are several federal programs that provide food/grocery assistance for low-income seniors. These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CFSP), the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).