Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition Program Joins Nationwide Effort to #SaveLunch for Seniors
Urges North Carolina Senators and Representatives to protect and increase federal funding for Meals on Wheels programs
Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition Program announced today that it has joined the nationwide #SaveLunch effort to urge Congress to protect and increase critical federal funding sources for Meals on Wheels programs.
Congress is in the midst of its annual debate to determine federal funding levels for the next Fiscal Year, which begins on October 1. The budget proposal put forth by the President in May includes decreases to the current funding levels for the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program and the elimination of the Social Services, Community Services and Community Development Block Grants. Eight out of ten Meals on Wheels programs nationwide rely on some type of federal funding to serve seniors, and cuts of any kind will widen the existing gap between seniors served and those who desperately need this lifeline.
Locally, the Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition program relies on funding from the OAA to serve approximately 119,000 meals annually to older adults throughout the 10-county service area. In fiscal year 2017, the Senior Nutrition Program served approximately 69,000 meals to over 460 homebound older adults. In addition, approximately 51,000 meals were served to 730 older adults at local congregate sites. OAA funding accounts for approximately 40 percent of the Senior Nutrition Program’s overall budget. The Senior Nutrition Program also relies on state and local funding as well as grants and donations to support the meals on wheels program.
“As the older adult population continues to grow throughout the region, so does the need for Meals on Wheels,” says Laura Alvarico, Director of the Albemarle Commission Area Agency on Aging. “We currently have a waiting list in almost all of our counties. Further funding cuts would mean that more of our elderly, homebound neighbors would be at risk for poor nutritional health, isolation and possible institutionalization.”
The OAA is the vital funding foundation for 5,000+ local Meals on Wheels programs nationwide like Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition Program, enabling them to deliver nutritious meals, friendly visits and critical safety checks to vulnerable seniors. Meals on Wheels keeps seniors out of nursing homes, prevents unnecessary trips to the emergency room and reduces hospital admissions and readmissions, saving taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Decreased federal funding will force senior nutrition programs to cut back even further, while the number of seniors on waiting lists will continues to mount in every state. As is, those programs that rely on OAA funding are already serving 23 million fewer meals today than in 2005.
#SaveLunch is an effort led by Meals on Wheels America, the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. Alongside this network of local programs, Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition Program is making a collective appeal to Congress to #SaveLunch for our nation’s seniors during the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process and make sure that no senior is left hungry and isolated.
“Assuring adequate federal funding for social programs like Meals on Wheels is not only vital to the health and well-being of at-risk seniors, but it is essential to the health and vibrancy of our nation. We are already losing ground in keeping pace with an exponentially increasing need. The time to act to save lives and money is now,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America.
To learn more about #SaveLunch and the ways you can take action, visit www.savelunch.org.
Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition Program:
We serve approximately 15,000 meals each month. This program is vital to the 1190 Older Americans we serve in our area. Many of the congregate participants depend on the meal served at the nutrition site as their main source of nutritious food because they lack funds to buy the good nutrition they need after paying for other necessities. Our home delivered meal clients are unable to prepare a nutritious meal or take advantage of other services because they’re physically unable or live in rural areas too remote for other programs to serve them. The volunteer often represents the only interaction or socialization for them. The volunteers’ visit also offers socialization and a safety check for many clients living by their self.
The Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition Program relies on funding from the OAA to serve approximately 119,000 meals annually to older adults throughout the 10 county service areas. In fiscal year 2017, the Senior Nutrition Program served approximately 69,000 meals to over 460 homebound older adults. In addition, approximately 51,000 meals were served to 730 older adults at local congregate sites. OAA funding accounts for approximately 40 percent of the Senior Nutrition Program’s overall budget.
About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in 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. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, 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.