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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

    FINALIZE REAUTHORIZATION AND ENSURE EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF 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 rapidly, leaving more seniors at risk of hunger and isolation. Reauthorization of the OAA, including implementation and broad awareness and understanding of policy changes brought forth by the new law, is essential to meeting the needs of our most vulnerable older adults and helping them to live independently in their homes and communities.


    INCREASE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE OAA NUTRITION PROGRAM TO A TOTAL LEVEL OF $1,028,753,000 IN FY 2021, WHICH IS $92 MILLION (OR 10%) ABOVE CURRENT LEVELS

    This includes the Home-Delivered, Congregate and Nutrition Services Incentive Programs (NSIP) that together exist “to reduce hunger and food insecurity, promote socialization and delay the onset of adverse health conditions for seniors.” Federal funding for OAA programs – which for every dollar spent is able to secure $3 from other sources – has failed to keep pace with the escalating demand for services, leaving 8 out of 10 low-income, food insecure seniors without the home-delivered meal services that they likely need. This funding request also reflects the total proposed authorized levels.


    PROTECT AND SUPPORT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES THAT HELP SENIORS AGE INDEPENDENTLY IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, INCLUDING THE SOCIAL SERVICES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANTS, AND MEDICARE AND MEDICAID HOME- AND COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES (HCBS)

    These federal programs are critical to local Meals on Wheels providers and their ability to leverage multiple public and private funding sources to address the unique nutritional, social, financial and health-related needs of an increasingly frail and at-risk senior population.


    SAFEGUARD AND GROW OTHER FEDERAL ANTI-HUNGER NUTRITION PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE ESSENTIAL SERVICES TO SENIORS

    With 1 in 7 seniors facing the threat of hunger, programs that assist older adults in receiving necessary nutrition, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), should be protected from cuts or structural changes that would reduce access or benefits and increase food insecurity.


    ESTABLISH INCENTIVES AND ELIMINATE BARRIERS FOR HEALTHCARE PLANS AND PROVIDERS TO EXPAND COVERAGE OF NUTRITION SERVICES SERVED BY A COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATION

    Community-based senior nutrition providers offer more than just a meal. The combination of nutrition, opportunities for safety checks, socialization and connections to other critical community services all help support the health and well-being of older adults, thereby reducing Medicare and Medicaid expenses. For about the same cost as one day in the hospital, or 10 days in a nursing home, a senior can receive Meals on Wheels for an entire year.


    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 provides only a portion of the full cost of vital nutrition and social supports to our nation’s at-risk seniors, a tax code that protects nonprofit status, revenue through charitable giving incentives and the volunteer base is critical to the success and sustainability of the aging services network.

    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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