Arlington, VA – March 22, 2020 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander issued the following statement regarding the anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program and calling attention to the vital lifeline it provides:
On this day 48 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 and opened new doors to ensure the health and well-being of vulnerable seniors in virtually every community across the country.
As we mark this annual milestone, we express both gratitude to, and recognition of, the local senior nutrition programs that have been selflessly serving millions of seniors for decades, providing them with the nutritious meals, social interaction and safety and wellness checks they need to remain independent in their homes and communities. The value and impact of these programs has been made all the more apparent amid the COVID-19 crisis our nation is currently facing as they continue to rise to the occasion every day, never wavering in their efforts to make sure their communities’ most at-risk citizens are not forgotten during such an uncertain time for all.
Given the high-risk individuals that OAA Nutrition Programs serve day-in and day-out and the growing number of seniors who need our help and services during this national emergency, we urge Congress and the Administration to ensure these programs across the country are deemed essential services and continue to be properly supported in any new policies to address COVID-19. OAA Nutrition Programs need expedient access to sufficient supplemental federal funding and additional flexibility to use that funding in any upcoming emergency COVID-19 legislative packages in order to continue delivering their vital services to our nation’s most vulnerable now and in years to come.
All concerned citizens can help take action by contacting Members of Congress here and/or by supporting the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund to help local programs nationwide meet the increased demand for nutritious meals that can keep our seniors safe and healthy 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
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603