Arlington, VA – September 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 today shared a joint statement in response to the House Committee on Education and Labor’s approval of $1.3 billion in supplemental funding for investments in Older Americans Act programs and infrastructure:
As representatives of the nationwide network of senior nutrition programs, we commend the approval of $1.3 billion in supplemental funding for Older Americans Act (OAA) services and infrastructure – including $140 million for the OAA Nutrition Program – by the House Education and Labor Committee, as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget reconciliation bill.
OAA nutrition programs – both congregate and home-delivered – have provided necessary social and nutrition services for the past 50 years that help older adults maintain healthy, independent lives in their communities. One in eight older adults struggled with hunger and 18 million lived alone, even before the COVID-19 crisis. Combined with the continued challenges of the pandemic, local senior nutrition programs are stretched to their limit. This proposed funding continues the critical support Congress has provided to local programs during the pandemic, all of which has been essential to keep operations going.
This new supplemental funding would invest in direct services and quality infrastructure and technology, making it possible for senior nutrition programs to improve and acquire the crucial assets that they need to continue serving older adults, like kitchen equipment, delivery vehicles and safe, accessible buildings and facilities. Enacting this funding is vital to support the health, well-being and dignity of older adults both today and for years to come.
We urge the House and Senate to retain the critical $1.3 billion for investments in the OAA in any final economic recovery package that is passed through reconciliation. The nationwide Aging Network needs these targeted resources to modernize its infrastructure, strengthen its workforce and continue providing life-altering services to older Americans in need. It is our responsibility as a nation to make this possible.
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
Meredith Ponder Whitmire, 202-789-0470