Arlington, VA – October 3, 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 the following statement regarding H.R. 5860, the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2024
We are thankful that Congress passed and the President signed into law a bipartisan bill to keep the government operating through November 17, 2023. Moreover, we appreciate that this temporary funding measure maintained current Fiscal Year 2023 levels and avoided harmful cuts. For the thousands of community-based nutrition programs across the country who depend on federal funding through the Older Americans Act (OAA) and the millions of vulnerable older adults who rely on their services as a lifeline, this brings a short-term sigh of relief.
However, as appropriations bills are negotiated, senior nutrition services remain at risk. Funding levels provided by the OAA Nutrition Program would need to increase by $32 million just to keep pace with inflation. That’s why we are calling on Congress to deliver 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 (LHHS) Appropriations Bill.
Funding cuts would put millions of American seniors in danger, and merely maintaining current funding levels isn’t enough, given the existing gap between those local programs can serve and those desperately in need. As is, over 80% of low-income older adults experiencing food insecurity who likely need home-delivered or congregate meals are not receiving them. From the most recent Meals on Wheels America membership survey, one in three programs have a waiting list with seniors spending an average of three months hoping to receive vital meals. With a minimum investment of $1.284 billion in the OAA Nutrition Program in the FY 2024 LHHS Appropriations Bill, Congress can save lunch for America’s most vulnerable seniors.
We encourage individuals to visit www.savelunch.org to send a direct message to their Members of Congress urging them to support our nation’s older adults who are struggling with hunger and isolation. Together, we can ensure that funding is increased to help meet the need.
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. Powered by a dedicated volunteer workforce, this network delivers a comprehensive solution that begins with a meal and is proven to enable independence and well-being through the additional benefits of tailored nutrition, social connection, safety and much more. By providing funding, programming, 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