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Congress should take action to ensure future of ‘Meals on Wheels’

July 12, 2008

One of the most important initiatives serving senior citizens is that often referred to as "Meals on Wheels."

"Meals on Wheels" programs provide regular deliveries of meals to the homes of elderly and disabled people in their communities. Often the deliveries are made by volunteers who provide some companionship to those they serve - and check on their well-being.

Such programs are excellent examples of how government funding can be used in combination with volunteers' efforts to provide an important service.

But rising prices for food and gasoline have hit "Meals on Wheels" programs hard, according to the Associated Press. Some have had to reduce the frequency with which they deliver meals. Some have had to cut back on the quantity and quality of food.

Some states are stepping up to the plate and providing supplemental appropriations to help county senior services agencies pay for food and gasoline. Iowa, sadly, isn't one of them yet.

And while such state efforts are admirable - to the tune of as much as $1 million in some states - it may not be enough help in the long run.

For that reason, we encourage Congress to consider what funding can be provided at the federal level for "Meals on Wheels." The lives of many of our nation's seniors may soon depend on it.



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