Arlington, VA – March 2, 2021 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander and National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) Executive Director Bob Blancato shared a joint statement in response to the American Rescue Plan Act that passed in the House of Representatives on February 27 (H.R. 1319):
As representatives of the nationwide network of senior nutrition programs, we commend the inclusion of over $1.4 billion in funding for Older Americans Act (OAA) programs – with $750 million specifically designated for the OAA Nutrition Program – in the $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package that passed the House of Representatives.
This month marks one year since COVID-19 spread across our country and 49 years since the OAA Nutrition Program was first established. Senior nutrition programs – both congregate and home-delivered – played a tremendous role in helping older adults remain safe and healthy at home long before this pandemic, serving more than 221 million meals and 2.4 million seniors annually. Over the past 12 months, they have gone above and beyond to ensure that their current clients and so many more rendered homebound and among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus have not been left without life-saving meals and social check-ins. As we approach both anniversaries, we must provide senior nutrition programs with the level of funding and support they need to continue their critical work throughout the remainder of the pandemic and sustain it long after the coronavirus is no longer a threat, including the safe reopening of congregate nutrition sites and senior centers.
With the American Rescue Plan Act now being considered by the Senate, we call for urgent passage and that, at a minimum, $1.4 billion in emergency funding for the OAA remains intact in any final relief package. This includes emergency funding for nutritious meals, as well as the resources needed for the nationwide Aging Network to help provide outreach and supportive services, such as transportation and information and referral assistance related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Given that the demand for the services that support the health and well-being of our nation’s most frail seniors continues to grow, we have a moral, social and economic imperative to not leave them behind.
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