Arlington, VA, May 23, 2019 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement in response to the reintroduction in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives of a bipartisan bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the standard charitable mileage rate for delivery of meals to elderly, disabled, frail and at-risk individuals:
We commend Senators Angus King (I-ME) and John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representatives Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25) and Ron Wright (R-TX-6) for reintroducing the DELIVER Act – Delivering Elderly Lunches and Increasing Volunteer Engagement and Reimbursements – in the 116th Congress and during Older Americans Month. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would support the dedicated volunteers upon which programs like Meals on Wheels rely to operate, and who work tirelessly to deliver essential nutrition, social interaction and safety checks to vulnerable Americans. We are grateful to the sponsors of this bill for their leadership and recognition of volunteers as a lifeline to seniors and other at-risk individuals and as a key component to helping them remain in their homes and communities and out of more costly healthcare and institutional settings.
Volunteers often use their personal vehicles to drive dozens or even hundreds of miles per week to serve nutritious meals to homebound individuals in cities, suburban neighborhoods and expansive rural areas, alike. However, the charitable mileage rate has remained unchanged at 14 cents per mile for more than two decades – as opposed to the current standard business mileage, which has steadily increased to the current rate of 58 cents per mile. For years, the charitable mileage deduction has not come close to covering an individual’s transportation expenses associated with meal deliveries.
Many volunteers are seniors on fixed incomes themselves, who are unable to shoulder the rising costs of fuel and/or general maintenance, and as such are often forced to either reduce the number of days they can deliver meals or suspend their volunteer service altogether. With volunteers as the foundation of Meals on Wheels and other community-based programs nationwide, coupled with the rapidly growing need and demand for nutrition services due to the escalating senior population, we must do all we can to recruit, retain and support these individuals.
We look forward to working with Congress to pass this legislation to begin to bring about equity and fair treatment under the tax code to those treasured volunteers who deliver critical nutrition to our nation’s most at-risk and in-need citizens.
Read the bill text of the DELIVER Act of 2019 in the Senate here and in the House 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