Multi-channel campaign urges Congress to protect and increase federal funding for Meals on Wheels programs amidst Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process and beyond
Arlington, VA, July 10, 2017 – Community-based Meals on Wheels programs are serving 23 million fewer meals today than in 2005 due to funding that has not kept pace with inflation and the rapid and consistent growth in America’s senior population. Because eight out of ten local Meals on Wheels programs rely on federal funding to serve vulnerable seniors across the country, the network has launched a nationwide effort – #SaveLunch – to urge Congress to protect and increase critical federal funding sources.
“Assuring adequate federal funding for social programs like Meals on Wheels is not only vital to the health and well-being of at-risk seniors, but it is essential to the health and vibrancy of our nation. We are already losing ground in keeping pace with an exponentially increasing need. The time to act to save lives and money is now,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America.
Congress is in the midst of its annual debate to determine federal funding levels for the next Fiscal Year, which begins on October 1.The budget proposal put forth by the President in May includes decreases to the current funding levels for the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program and the elimination of the Social Services, Community Services and Community Development Block Grants that also support these programs. Cuts of any kind will widen the existing gap between seniors served and those who desperately need this lifeline.
The OAA is the vital funding foundation for 5,000+ local Meals on Wheels programs nationwide, enabling them to deliver nutritious meals, friendly visits and critical safety checks to vulnerable seniors. Meals on Wheels keeps seniors out of nursing homes, prevents unnecessary trips to emergency rooms and reduces hospital admissions and readmissions, saving taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Decreased federal funding will force senior nutrition programs to cut back even further, while the number of seniors on waiting lists will continue to mount in every state.
#SaveLunch is an effort led by Meals on Wheels America, the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. The nationwide network is making a collective appeal to Congress to #SaveLunch for our nation’s seniors during the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process and make sure that no senior is left hungry and isolated.
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 oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in 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.
Jenny Bertolette Young
Meals on Wheels America