May is Older Americans Month and nationwide supporters of Meals on Wheels (MoW) have been stressing to members of Congress the challenges of hunger, isolation and poverty among senior citizens.
Armed with new state and national fact sheets developed by Meals on Wheels America and a new Brown University report, MoW advocates have been emphasizing the seriousness of problems faced by the elderly and stressing how programs like MoW provide badly needed assistance to financially strapped and homebound older residents. MoW supporters are stressing the importance of adequate funding and Meals on Wheels America has endorsed the increased funding levels of President Obama’s 2016 budget request for the nutrition programs covered by the Older Americans Act. Meals on Wheels America submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee in April calling for increased funding.
The new Congress seated in January is dominated by Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And Meals on Wheels America has distributed a congressional guide to MoW chapters around the country to help program advocates determine if their federal lawmakers serve on committees that oversee legislation impacting MoW and other federal efforts for senior citizens.
“In this new Congress, we will work with new leadership and new members sitting on key committees,” MoW America said in a statement earlier this year to supporters. “Be sure to take full advantage of the ‘More Than a Meal’ research, executive summary, infographic, social media images and other tools we have created to help you educate lawmakers about Meals on Wheels.”
Key elected officials and MoW supporters can go to www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org to access “More Than A Meal; A Pilot Research Study,” a new report compiled by Brown University researchers with funding from the AARP Foundation. Meals on Wheels America, in its introduction to the study, says it “validates what we’ve known for decades anecdotally and through firsthand experience — Meals on Wheels does, in fact, deliver so much more than just a meal” to many poor, homebound seniors.
Members of Congress and others can also contact the public policy team of Meals on Wheels America directly. The chief advocacy and government affairs officer is Erika Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org; 571-339-1604; Twitter@NoSeniorHungry) and Crystal Espie (email@example.com; 571-339-1613) is the public policy manager.