Arlington, VA, March 22, 2019 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander issued the following statement regarding the anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program:
On this day 47 years ago, a national nutrition program for seniors was added to the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. The OAA Nutrition Program – which includes home-delivered and congregate meals – established critical federal support for Meals on Wheels, opening up new doors to ensure the health and well-being of vulnerable seniors in virtually every community across the country.
The Meals on Wheels network of community-based nutrition programs commemorates this landmark legislation each year with our March for Meals campaign, designed to raise public awareness and advance advocacy efforts nationwide. In particular, we leverage the week leading up to the anniversary – Community Champions Week – to honor the community leaders who support these vital programs. Meals on Wheels America thanks the Members of Congress who have visited local senior nutrition programs this week and throughout the month to experience firsthand the impact delivered each day to their constituents who are at risk of hunger and isolation. This powerful demonstration of support is an invaluable way to speak out for seniors and the federal programs that provide them with nutritious meals, socialization and access to additional supportive services.
We must work together to ensure this support extends beyond the month of March. The OAA – which provides funds for the majority of Meals on Wheels programs across the country – serves as one of the best examples of a successful public-private partnership, leveraging an additional $3 in private, state and local funding for every $1 invested by taxpayers. Yet, with our country’s senior population set to nearly double by 2060 and a rapidly growing number of seniors in need of supportive services, current funding and resources are insufficient to keep up with this growing demand.
That is why we are calling on Congress to reauthorize and strengthen the OAA before its current authorization expires on September 30, and to increase Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations for the OAA Nutrition Program to $997,428,000 – which represents a 10% increase over current levels. Meals on Wheels America’s key legislative priorities for this year can be found here. We look forward to working with Congress to continue building on the longstanding bipartisan support for the OAA and its Nutrition Program to ensure no senior is hungry or forgotten.
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.