House Appropriations Subcommittee Receives 100+ Bipartisan Signatures, Signaling Widespread Support for Critical Funding
Arlington, VA – April 29, 2021 – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander today issued the following statement in response to a Dear Colleague letter urging the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to increase funding for Older Americans Act programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022:
Meals on Wheels America commends the 108 Members of Congress who sent a bipartisan letter to leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee urging that programs authorized under Title III of the Older Americans Act (OAA), such as nutrition services, be funded at levels that better meet the needs of a rapidly growing aging and caregiving population in FY 2022. The letter was championed by U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL), John Katko (R-NY) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who are each longstanding supporters of the OAA and the millions of older adults and caregivers served through its programs every day.
The Title III C OAA Nutrition Program – covering both congregate and home-delivered meals – is the only federal program designed specifically to meet the nutritional and social needs of those 60+ most at risk of hunger, isolation and losing their ability to live independently. It has been essential to helping older adults stay healthy and engaged in their communities for nearly five decades, and most recently, to addressing the immense hardships brought on by the pandemic in every community in America.
OAA programs – like Meals on Wheels – immediately scaled their services to meet the rising demand for life-saving nutrition and social connection among older adults impacted by COVID-19. However, this demand – coupled with increased operational costs – further exacerbated challenges these programs have faced year after year to meet the needs of an expanding aging population without adequate funding. Long after the pandemic, millions of seniors across this country will remain in need of OAA Nutrition Program services; yet, current funding levels are insufficient to support these programs on this difficult road ahead.
Meals on Wheels America again thanks the Members of Congress who added their signature to this letter which explicitly highlights the value of congregate and home-delivered nutrition programs. We look forward to working with Congress during the FY 2022 appropriations process to build upon the widespread support for the OAA Nutrition Program and urge a doubling of currently enacted appropriations levels for a total of $1.904 billion. The OAA Nutrition Program has been on the frontlines working to reduce hunger, isolation and healthcare costs among seniors long before and during the pandemic. It is time we make the serious investment needed to ensure its continued success and sustainability in the years to come.
Read the Dear Colleague letter here.
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. This network serves 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. Through funding, leadership, 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
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603