Arlington, VA – May 22, 2023 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement in response to H.R. 3474, the Senior Hunger Prevention Act, as introduced by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) and co-led by Representative Andrea Salinas (D-OR-6):
Meals on Wheels America proudly endorses the Senior Hunger Prevention Act and commends Representatives Bonamici and Salinas for their leadership to introduce this comprehensive legislation, which is a companion bill to S. 1036, the Senior Hunger Prevention Act led by Senators Casey (D-PA), Gillibrand (D-NY) and Fetterman (D-PA). We thank each of them for their ongoing commitment to this issue and for co-authoring this critical, first-of-its-kind bill which would address the growing problem of senior hunger in America. In addition, we greatly appreciate the 19 original cosponors for supporting this legislation and look forward to encouraging more Representatives to do the same in the weeks ahead.
The Senior Hunger Prevention Act acknowledges that implementing policies that strengthen and secure nutrition access for older adults is essential. Millions of seniors nationwide struggle with hunger, while facing higher risk of malnutrition due to the decreased appetite, mobility issues, and other hardships that can naturally occur with aging. For example, older adults have historically had lower-than-average participation rates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our nation’s largest anti-hunger program, with only about 40% of eligible older adults participating. Low participation rates are most often attributed to physical mobility challenges, technology and transportation barriers, stigma, and misperceptions about eligibility and/or benefit levels.
The Senior Hunger Prevention Act would address these barriers head on and put commonsense solutions in place for SNAP, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and other federal nutrition programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If enacted, this legislation would increase SNAP and Senior Farmers’ Nutrition Program benefits, simplify the application processes and extend certification periods for multiple nutrition programs, improve benefits coordination and outreach, and enhance access, particularly for those who are homebound and in the greatest need.
We must ensure that our nation’s seniors can effectively access the federal nutrition safety net that exists to support their overall health and wellbeing. We look forward to working with Congress to adopt this vital legislation so no senior in America goes hungry.
Read more about the Senior Hunger Prevention Act as introduced in the House here and the Senate here.
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.
Meals on Wheels America