Arlington, VA, April 12, 2019 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement in response to a Dear Colleague letter urging the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to increase funding for Older Americans Act programs by at least 12% above current levels in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020:
Meals on Wheels America commends the 39 Senators who sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee urging that programs authorized under the Older Americans Act (OAA) receive increased funding in FY 2020. The letter was circulated by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has been a long-standing champion of the OAA and previously pushed for similar increases in its funding level.
The OAA is the primary piece of federal legislation supporting vital community-based services and supports, such as Meals on Wheels, for seniors and their caregivers. It plays a critical role in addressing the unique social and nutrition needs of our nation’s rapidly growing senior population, which is set to nearly double by 2060. However, the resources available to support this rising demand for OAA programs are not expanding at the same rate, and federal funding remains inadequate to meet the needs of millions of at-risk seniors. In fact, 8 out of 10 low-income, food insecure seniors do not receive the OAA nutrition services that they likely need, and waitlists for seniors seeking to receive meals remain nationwide.
The programs authorized under the OAA are pivotal to solving the growing issues of senior hunger and isolation, offering both a social and economic benefit to our seniors and to our nation, as a whole. We applaud this call for increased federal funding for the OAA and again thank the Members of Congress who signed onto this letter for acknowledging how vital the OAA is in keeping Meals on Wheels and other proven and cost-effective programs that support seniors operating in our communities.
We look forward to working with Congress throughout the FY 2020 appropriations process to continue to build on the bipartisan and bicameral support for this legislation and to secure a much needed increase in federal funding.
Read the letter here.
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.
Meals on Wheels America