Arlington, VA – March 30, 2022 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander and National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) Executive Director Bob Blancato today issued the following statement in response to the release of the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, which highlights the Administration’s priorities for the coming year:
As representatives of the nationwide network of senior nutrition programs, both congregate and home-delivered, we want to commend the President and the Administration for proposing an increase of $306 million for the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Budget, for a total of $1.272 billion. Such a proposal – while acknowledging the vital role that senior nutrition programs across the country play in helping older adults remain healthy and independent in their homes and communities – falls short of what is needed.
Millions of older adults and caregivers have long relied upon the critical aging and nutrition services delivered by the OAA, and this recommended investment represents a step in the right direction. However, it does not reflect the reality that senior nutrition programs are facing today, nor does it account for what we anticipate they will face in the coming fiscal year. The COVID-19 pandemic has further magnified the compounding impact of years of inadequate funding, leaving senior nutrition programs scrambling to successfully serve the growing number of individuals in need. Local programs have been simultaneously navigating inflation, supply chain challenges and rising gas prices. Amid a pandemic whose end is not quite in sight, plus these latest hurdles, a larger investment in the OAA Nutrition Program is imperative.
The OAA Nutrition Program is one of the best examples of a successful public-private partnership in which older adults not only receive nutritious meals, but also benefit from opportunities for socialization, safety checks and connections to community resources – all of which reduce healthcare costs and benefit our communities and taxpayers, as a whole. To that end, we urge a doubling of funding for the OAA Nutrition Program in FY 2023 to a total of $1,933,506,000 and are committed to working with Congress throughout the FY 2023 appropriations process to bring this to fruition. The OAA Nutrition Program has been a bedrock of federal support for senior nutrition programs for the past 50 years, and we must seize this opportunity to invest in its present and future.
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