September 9, 2017 – Following Congress’ swift action, the President signed into law H.R. 601, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017, combining multiple must-pass items in September into one big piece of legislation. We are pleased this legislative package included a short-term funding bill to fund disaster needs and avoid a government shutdown and debt default. All of these components impact the Meals on Wheels network, including disaster relief, as Meals on Wheels is often the only lifeline for vulnerable, homebound seniors.
While we agree with lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the stopgap funding measure is not an efficient way to fund the government, we remain hopeful that Congress will use the time between now and the new December 8 deadline to develop and negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement with realistic caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending. Assuring adequate federal funding for social programs like Meals on Wheels is not only vital to the health and well-being of at-risk seniors, but it is essential to the health and vibrancy of our nation. With community-based Meals on Wheels programs serving 23 million fewer meals today than in 2005, the chasm continues to widen in meeting an exponentially increasing need. The time to act to save lives and money is now.
We will take this extended time over the next few months to continue to call on Congress to protect and increase the critical federal funding sources upon which 8 out of 10 local Meals on Wheels programs rely. Earlier this summer, the Meals on Wheels network launched a multifaceted #SaveLunch campaign in an effort to influence the important funding decisions that need to be made for FY 2018. Next week, representatives from Meals on Wheels America will be on Capitol Hill to deliver more than 100,000 petition signatures and 1,000 compelling messages on paper plates, all in support of protecting America’s most vulnerable seniors.
To join Meals on Wheels America in taking action, visit www.savelunch.org.
Jenny Bertolette Young
Meals on Wheels America