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ADVOCACY AGENDA

ADVOCACY AGENDA

    FIGHTING FOR THE NEEDS OF OUR SENIORS

    Meals on Wheels America is engaged in ongoing advocacy initiatives and activities aimed at helping our local programs meet the needs of their communities. To that end, we work to build support on Capitol Hill and within the Administration to advance legislation and policies that strengthen home-delivered and group setting (congregate) programs, the volunteers who make them happen and the seniors they serve.

    Ultimately, we’re fighting to ensure that local communities are able to meet the needs of the growing number of seniors and provide the support that enables them to live more nourished lives with the independence and dignity they deserve.

    KEY LEGISLATIVE ISSUES WE'RE FIGHTING FOR

    REAUTHORIZE AND STRENGTHEN THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT (OAA), THE PRIMARY PIECE OF LEGISLATION SUPPORTING NUTRITION AND SOCIAL SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS AGE 60+ AND THEIR CAREGIVERS

    Our nation’s senior population is growing exponentially, leaving more seniors at risk of hunger and isolation. A timely reauthorization of the OAA that focuses on the needs of seniors today and in the future is essential to fulfilling the purpose of the Act – to assist vulnerable older adults in living independently in their homes and communities.


    FUND THE OAA NUTRITION PROGRAM AT A TOTAL LEVEL OF $997,428,000 IN FY 2020, AN INCREASE OF NEARLY $100M ABOVE CURRENT LEVELS 

    This includes the Home-Delivered, Congregate and Nutrition Services Incentive Programs that together exist “to reduce hunger and food insecurity, promote socialization and delay the onset of adverse health conditions for seniors.” Federal funding for these programs has failed to keep pace with the escalating need, leaving 8 out of 10 low-income, food insecure seniors without the home-delivered meals services that they likely require.


    MAINTAIN EXISTING FUNDING LEVELS, AT A MINIMUM, FOR THE SOCIAL SERVICES, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY SERVICES BLOCK GRANTS IN FY 2020  

    Local Meals on Wheels programs use a hybrid funding model based on the needs and resources of the communities they serve. Because OAA funding covers less than 40% nationally of the total cost to provide nutritious meals, safety checks and friendly visits to seniors, federal block grants are a vital funding component that offer many programs the resources that enable them to reach more individuals in need.


    SUPPORT LEGISLATION ALLOWING NUTRITION SERVICES PROVIDED BY A COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATION TO BE A COVERED BENEFIT UNDER ALL MEDICARE AND MEDICAID PLANS 

    Community-based nutrition providers offer more than just a meal. The combination of nutrition, opportunities for socialization and connections to other critical community services all help support the health and well-being of seniors while leveraging the existing network of millions of volunteers. For about the same cost as one day in the hospital, a senior can receive home-delivered meals for an entire year, contributing to substantial savings in taxpayer dollars as well as keeping seniors in their communities and out of unfamiliar and costly hospital settings and nursing facilities.


    ENHANCE CHARITABLE GIVING INCENTIVES AND ASSISTANCE FOR 501(C)(3) ORGANIZATIONS UNDER THE TAX CODE 

    A true public-private partnership, Meals on Wheels programs rely on their charitable standing – for both revenue from private donations as well as savings from their exempt status. As federal funding does not provide for the full cost of offering critical nutrition and social supports to our nation’s at-risk seniors, a tax code that protects status, revenue and volunteer base is critical to the success and sustainability of the Meals on Wheels network.


    ELIMINATE THE THREAT OF SEQUESTRATION IN FY 2020 AND ADOPT A BIPARTISAN PLAN THAT RAISES BUDGET CAPS AND RECOGNIZES THE CUTS ALREADY MADE TO NON-DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY PROGRAMS, LIKE MEALS ON WHEELS 

    These vital programs, which represent less than one-tenth of one percent of total discretionary dollars, save substantial taxpayer dollars by keeping seniors healthier and independent in their own homes and communities. Adequate funding for the OAA Nutrition Program – now and in the years to come – that accounts for inflation and growing demand will ensure that seniors in need receive these critical nutrition services that support health and well-being and reduce healthcare expenditures.

    FIND YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVES AND YOUR U.S. SENATORS

    STRENGTHEN YOUR
    ADVOCACY EFFORTS

    As a Meals on Wheels America Member, you have a range of tools and resources available to you to help engage in and strengthen your own national, state and local advocacy activities.
    JOIN TODAY

    SPEAK OUT WITH US

    There has never been a time when the need is more critical for us to tell Congress to protect and boost support to the nutrition programs that enable our senior neighbors to remain healthy and independent in their own homes. Contact your elected leaders today to share your Meals on Wheels story, and encourage friends and family to do the same.
    Take Action

    HOW WE’RE TAKING ACTION EVERY DAY

    We work each day to speak out for those whose voices can be buried in large debates in Washington. Here are some of the ways we’re advocating for our programs and the seniors they serve on Capitol Hill:

    • Testifying before Congress
    • Meeting with Members of Congress and their staffs
    • Initiating Congressional letters of support for Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs
    • Submitting written testimony to key Congressional Committees
    • Providing oral statements at Congressional staff briefings 
    • Sending letters to Members of Congress
    • Signing onto national coalition letters
    • Engaging Members of Congress through social media
    • Assisting Members of Congress with connections to local programs to visit and/or deliver meals
    • Undertaking research to help make the case for greater investment in nutritious meals for seniors and how our network is a part of the health care solution 
    • Responding and reaching out to national press and media outlets
    • Collaborating with national organizations and coalitions to strengthen our collective efforts and voice

    THE MEALS ON WHEELS MOVEMENT STARTS WITH YOU

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