Arlington, VA – September 21, 2023 –
Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander and National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) Executive Director Bob Blancato today issued this statement urging passage of a clean continuing resolution and prevention of a devastating government shutdown.
We are calling for a clean continuing resolution, before the start of the new federal fiscal year on October 1, to prevent a devastating government shutdown. A shutdown of any length could severely impact our nation’s most vulnerable older adults facing hunger and isolation. Furthermore, the severe cuts proposed in the House of Representatives this week would be catastrophic to our programs and the seniors they serve.
This congressional funding debate is taking place during both Malnutrition Awareness Week and Falls Prevention Awareness Week, at a time when one in two older adults are at risk of malnutrition and 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year. As representatives of the nationwide network of senior nutrition programs, both congregate and home-delivered, we know firsthand the vital role that senior nutrition programs play in combating senior hunger, malnutrition, falls and isolation. With poverty on the rise among Americans age 65 and older (up from 10.7% in 2021 to 14.1% in 2022), and deaths from malnutrition doubling among older adults, millions of older adults and caregivers are relying on the critical aging and nutrition services funded and supported by the Older Americans Act (OAA) to remain healthier and independent at home, avoiding far more expensive health care alternatives.
That’s why we are calling for a minimum investment of $1.284 billion in the OAA Nutrition Program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. Our senior nutrition programs collectively serve 230 million meals to 2.2 million older adults each year through the OAA, and the need cannot be met by current funding levels. As is, one in three senior nutrition programs currently have a waitlist to deliver home-delivered meals, with older adults waiting on average three months for a meal. This necessary investment would honor the federal government’s commitment to care for our nation’s most vulnerable seniors and make significant progress toward ensuring more older adults receive the aging and nutrition services they need.
The OAA Nutrition Program has received bipartisan support for over 50 years. Today, more funding is necessary for local programs to reduce waiting lists and meet the growing need. We are dedicated to working with Congress throughout the FY 2024 appropriations process to ensure the needed investments in this successful public-private partnership come to fruition.
Read our letters to House and Senate leadership.
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.
Founded in 1977, the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) is proud to be a leading organization advocating for policies and programs nourishing older adults. Our 1,110 member programs represent a wide range of essential services providers who support the nutrition, health and life quality of over 4 million older adults. For more information, go to nanasp.org.
Meals on Wheels America