Newly Released Report – "The Case for Meals on Wheels: An Evidence-Based Solution to Senior Hunger and Nutrition" – Underscores Important Need to Increase Federal Funding for Life-Saving Services
Arlington, VA – September 26, 2023 – With the September 30 federal funding deadline approaching, Meals on Wheels America – the leadership organization supporting the network of more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation – is calling upon Congress to #SaveLunch for millions of American seniors as key hunger relief and nutrition programs are being threatened. The organization is asking everyone to take action by visiting www.savelunch.org to send a direct message to your Members of Congress, urging them to protect and increase funding for Meals on Wheels services.
This appropriations deadline coincides with the one-year anniversary of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health and the administration's commitment to increase federal funding for programs like Meals on Wheels and end hunger by 2030. Approximately 37% of local Meals on Wheels program funding comes from the federal government, primarily through the Older Americans Act. This represents just one hundredth of 1 percent of the entire federal budget. Funding has neither kept pace with inflation nor the rapid growth in America's senior population. In fact, one in three programs has a waiting list with seniors spending an average of three months waiting for vital meals. Funding levels provided by the Older Americans Act would need to increase by $32 million this year just to keep pace with inflation.
Underscoring the importance of federal funding for these programs, a newly released report, "The Case for Meals on Wheels: An Evidence-Based Solution to Senior Hunger and Isolation," highlights a set of consistent findings that Meals on Wheels programs improve senior health, safety, social connection and more while saving money. The organization analyzed 38 studies, spanning from 1996 to 2023, and found they steadily reported that Meals on Wheels programs reduce health care utilization and costs, falls, nursing home use, social isolation and loneliness and improve seniors' ability to age in place, food security, diet quality and nutritional status.
"Meals on Wheels is a proven solution to a problem that is far too common: seniors dealing with hunger and isolation during their struggle to stay independent and healthy at home, where they want to be," said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO at Meals on Wheels America. "But our programs can only reach their full potential if funding keeps pace with inflation and need. Funding cuts put millions of American seniors in danger and merely maintaining current funding levels isn't enough, given the existing gap between those Meals on Wheels can serve and those desperately in need."
To learn more about how Meals on Wheels opens the door to addressing social connection, safety and so much more through the delivery of healthy meals tailored to the needs of older adults, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org. To learn more about #SaveLunch and the ways you can take action, visit www.savelunch.org.
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. Powered by a dedicated volunteer workforce, this network delivers a comprehensive solution that begins with a meal and is proven to enable independence and well-being through the additional benefits of tailored nutrition, social connection, safety and much more. By providing funding, programming, 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