Arlington, VA, January 19, 2018 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement regarding the possibility of a Federal Government shutdown:
As the threat for a damaging government shutdown looms on the heels of more than 100 days of inefficient short-term funding measures, millions of our nation’s most vulnerable seniors and the local Meals on Wheels programs who serve them are unnecessarily faced with another day of uncertainty about how this vital lifeline may be affected.
The number of hungry, isolated seniors who may not know where their next meal is coming from has doubled over the past 20 years. This grave statistic is on track to expand significantly in the near future as the growth of the senior population continues to outpace the insufficient funding available to senior nutrition programs to keep those seniors healthy and out of far more costly healthcare settings. At a time when 1 in 4 local Meals on Wheels programs already has a waiting list of seniors in need of meals, Congress should be working together to seek solutions to address this hidden epidemic, not putting at further risk this highly valued and effective program.
A government shutdown for any considerable length of time would lead to a delay in federal funding reimbursements for meals and services delivered, forcing Meals on Wheels programs to make near impossible choices such as suspending meal services, initiating or expanding waiting lists for meals, reducing the number of meals or delivery days or even closing their doors altogether.
With only hours remaining until current funding expires, it’s past time for Congress to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. We urge all Members of Congress to avoid a shutdown and ultimately increase funding for Meals on Wheels for both the health of our most vulnerable seniors and our nation’s fiscal future.
Jenny Bertolette Young
Meals on Wheels America