Spanberger on Proposed House GOP Cut to Meals on Wheels Program: “We Should Never Let Hyper-Partisanship Cause Seniors to Go Hungry”

According to Politico, the House Republican Conference’s Debt Limit Plan Would Threaten Critical Funding for the Meals on Wheels Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today reacted to reports that Virginia’s Meals on Wheels programs — which keep seniors healthy, fed, and independent in their homes — are threatened by a U.S. House Republican Conference debt limit proposal.

According to a story reported today in Politico, the administration has identified that one-million “largely home-bound seniors would lose access to food through the Meals on Wheels program” under the U.S. House Republican Conference’s debt limit plan. Specifically, proposed funding cuts tied to fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget levels would jeopardize the ability of the Meals on Wheels program to meet the growing, nationwide demand for nutrition services that support homebound, rural, or isolated seniors.

According to a 2022 report from Meals on Wheels for America, more than 1.9 million home-delivered meals were served in Virginia in just one year — thanks to the Meals on Wheels program and the Older Americans Act (OAA).

“Fundamentally, we should never let hyper-partisanship cause seniors to go hungry. And unfortunately, these broad-brush cuts would hurt some of the most vulnerable members of our communities — including homebound seniors who rely on Meals on Wheels,” said Spanberger, a Member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. “This program — powered by dedicated volunteers and retirees — makes sure that Virginia seniors can have a hot meal and remain in their home for as long as possible. As a result, it often helps them avoid an expensive hospital stay or the long-term financial stress that comes with living in a nursing home.”

Spanberger continued, “In the face of proposed cuts, we need to make the case for Meals on Wheels, protect the Virginians who depend on it, and stand up for seniors across our Commonwealth at risk of hunger. For thousands of Virginians, Meals on Wheels isn’t just a daily meal — it’s a daily friendly face, a daily human connection, and a daily reminder of their dignity and their importance in our communities.”

More than 440,000 Virginia seniors live alone. According to a 2019 Virginia-specific report, the average cost of one Meals on Wheels meal delivery to a Virginia senior is less than $9. In contrast, the average cost of one day in the hospital is nearly $2,000 — and the average cost of one day in a nursing home is $245.

To find a Meals on Wheels provider in their region, Virginians can click here.

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