Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander, alongside the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) Executive Director Bob Blancato, sent a letter
to President Biden and Speaker McCarthy regarding the ongoing debt limit and federal spending negotiations. Meals on Wheels America and NANASP strongly urge protection for funding for programs like Meals on Wheels and that current funding levels are preserved, at a minimum. Cutting to FY 2022 appropriations levels could mean more than a million older adults would no longer receive meals through the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program.
May 23, 2023
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear President Biden and Speaker McCarthy:
As negotiations to raise the debt limit and address federal spending continue, vulnerable older adults served through the Older Americans Act (OAA) are worried about whether they may lose access to daily, nutritious meals. These are citizens who have worked their entire lives in service to this great nation, as veterans, teachers, fire fighters, postal workers and the list goes on and on. They are now counting on us to be there for them in their time of need to ensure they can age with dignity and independence. We implore you to remember them as you consider funding levels that do no harm to senior nutrition programs like Meals on Wheels.
If a final agreement must include caps on federal spending, we strongly urge that the baseline be current funding levels, at a minimum. The difference between Fiscal Year 2023 and Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations could mean more than a million older adults no longer receiving meals through the OAA Nutrition Program. For some, these services provide their only meal of the day.
Meals on Wheels, as a long-standing and successful public-private partnership, has always had bipartisan, bicameral support. There is no viable alternative source of nutrition and social connection for the growing number of seniors who rely on these services. Community-based senior nutrition programs enable 2.8 million to live at home and out of far more costly healthcare settings, saving billions of taxpayer dollars annually. That’s because we can provide a senior with Meals on Wheels for an entire year for roughly the same cost as one day in the hospital or ten days in a nursing home, saving dollars and lives.
As decisions loom, we urge you to steer clear of any policies that would increase hunger or threaten the health and well-being of older adults in the greatest social and economic need. The consequences would be dire.
President and CEO
Meals on Wheels America
Robert B. Blancato
National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs