Arlington, VA, January 9, 2019 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement regarding the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government:
As we approach the fourth week in a partial government shutdown, with negotiations on how to reopen at a stalemate, Americans across the country are left wondering how they will meet their basic needs in the days and weeks ahead. We urge Members of Congress and the President to come to an agreement and put an end to this unnecessary government shutdown that threatens to harm the health and well-being of seniors, families and our nation as a whole.
While Older Americans Act (OAA) funding makes up 38% of the total spending for Meals on Wheels – dollars that were secured last September through the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Bill – many senior nutrition programs also rely on federal funding from other key government agencies disrupted by this shutdown, including both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If the shutdown continues much longer, programs critical to addressing senior hunger through these agencies will be impacted. Such programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s largest anti-hunger safety net for seniors; the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) – also known as the Senior Food Box Program; and the Community Development Block Grant, which states, localities and Meals on Wheels may use to provide services to seniors, among others.
The instability and uncertainty resulting from this shutdown is directly affecting state governments, local communities, charitable organizations and vulnerable individuals, families and caregivers. Already, 83% of low-income and food insecure seniors do not receive the meals they may benefit from due to insufficient funding; further threatening access to critically needed nutrition only adds insult to injury. We all benefit when our lawmakers work together in a bipartisan manner, and a prompt end to this shutdown will be a significant step in the right direction.
About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves 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.
Jenny Bertolette Young
Meals on Wheels America