Next COVID-19 Rescue Plan Must Include Emergency Funding for Senior Nutrition Programs
Arlington, VA – January 15, 2021 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander and National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) Executive Director Bob Blancato released a joint statement in response to President-elect Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan:
As representatives of the nationwide network of senior nutrition programs, we commend the President-elect for unveiling his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan last night. This comprehensive plan marks the incoming Administration’s first step in tackling the dual public health and economic crises we are facing as a nation head-on.
We recognize that the President-elect’s plan will be considered by Congress in its negotiations, and we will continue to urge that, at a minimum, $750 million in emergency funding for senior nutrition programs is included in the final package. The need for more funding is ever-present in communities across the nation, as the majority of programs are concerned about their ability to sustain operations without continued emergency support and nearly all have seen costs rise. Senior nutrition providers remain on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, and our nation’s leaders must do all that is in their power to continue to support them moving forward. It is paramount that we keep vulnerable seniors safe and healthy at home and out of hospitals and nursing homes, especially amidst a pandemic.
We also agree with the President-elect’s proposal to use community centers as vaccination sites and urge that the federal government specifically include senior centers, Meals on Wheels programs and other aging services network providers in this national vaccination plan. Doing so will help to reach older adults who remain among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, as these service providers have established the trust necessary for successful outreach and implementation.
As President-elect Biden said in his speech outlining his rescue plan, “We not only have an economic imperative to act now, I believe we have a moral obligation to act now. In this pandemic and America, we cannot let people go hungry.” We could not agree more. We look forward to working with the next Administration and Congress to quickly pass a bipartisan relief package that addresses the specific needs of older Americans throughout the remainder of this pandemic and into our nation’s recovery period.
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 hunger and isolation. 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. Through funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy, 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.
Founded in 1977, the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) is proud to be a leading organization advocating for community-based senior nutrition programs and staff. Our member programs represent a wide range of essential services providers who support the nutrition, health and life quality of seniors. With over 1,100 members from across the United States, we are national advocates for senior health and wellbeing who strengthen the policies and programs that nourish seniors. We accomplish this mission through a collective national voice and through local community action. For more information, go to nanasp.org.
Meals on Wheels America
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603
Meredith Ponder Whitmire, 202-789-0470