Month-Long Effort Seeks to Increase Resources for the Proven Public-Private Partnership
ARLINGTON, Va. – March 1, 2023 – Meals on Wheels America – the national leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation across the U.S. – today kicks off its month-long awareness campaign commemorating historic day in 1972 when a national nutrition program for seniors was added to the Older Americans Act. This vital legislation supported the rapid growth of the nationwide network of senior nutrition programs – commonly referred to as Meals on Wheels – that now collectively serves 247 million meals to nearly 2.8 million seniors each year.
This annual March for Meals celebration comes at a time when eight out of ten local Meals on Wheels programs are still delivering meals to more older adults than they were prior to the pandemic, and operational and food costs are still soaring even while inflation slows.
While the onset of the pandemic saw a critical influx of emergency support, this funding is receding while community need remains, and nearly all programs are reporting challenges to serve seniors in need. Many are taking drastic steps to sustain their programs amid funding challenges, including adding seniors to waitlists and discontinuing or cutting back services. National efforts this month will urge Congress to protect, strengthen and invest in these proven and effective programs by increasing federal funding in 2023.
“March is an important time for us to come together to ensure that Meals on Wheels is there for all of our senior neighbors in need,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “The demand for services is already great and approximately 12,000 Americans are turning 60 every day. We must maintain and expand the programs that have helped so many get through this unprecedented time in our nation’s history. We can’t do it alone. It takes all of us to keep the nationwide Meals on Wheels movement going.”
Local Meals on Wheels programs across the country will also be celebrating March for Meals to garner the support needed to ensure these critical programs can continue to address food insecurity and malnutrition, combat social isolation, enable independence, and improve health for years to come. Many programs will also invite local, state and federal officials, local celebrities and other prominent community figures to safely deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the power of their work during Community Champions Week March 20-24.
To learn more and get involved, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/marchformeals.
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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.