Meals On Wheels Association of America
Director of Communications
For Immediate Release
Meals On Wheels Association of America Suggests Older Americans Act Structure May Contribute to Rise in Senior Hunger
MOWAA President and CEO Enid Borden delivers provocative remarks during “listening forum” on OAA
ALEXANDRIA, VA (March 1, 2010) - Enid Borden, president and CEO of the Meals On Wheels Association of America, believes that the current structure of the Older Americans Act may unintentionally have put more seniors at risk of hunger. Borden made that provocative suggestion while addressing a U.S. Administration on Aging “listening forum” in Alexandria last Thursday, which sought input from experts in the aging network about the upcoming reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Assistant U.S. Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee hosted the forum.
Borden told the forum that research, sponsored by MOWAA, revealed the number of seniors facing the threat of hunger in America grew from 5 to 6 million between 2001 and 2007.
“MOWAA believes that several factors account for this increase in senior hunger and hunger risk,” Borden explained. “…like the ever increasing number of individuals age 60 or older… or ever-increasing food costs; or the state of the economy in general. We have no control over these. But there are other factors that we can mitigate. Some of these are factors that, MOWAA believes, may be unintended consequences of the Older Americans Act in its current state.”
The Older Americans Act gives states the ability to transfer portions of their federal grant money for seniors away from nutrition services, such as congregate and home delivered meals, to fund other non-nutrition related activities and services. In 2007, Borden revealed, 21 of the top 25 Senior Hunger States (those states that have the highest rates of senior hunger) transferred millions of dollars away from feeding seniors. Only 12 of the bottom 25 Senior Hunger States made such transfers.
Borden said that the transfer funds away from nutrition services is, “having a serious adverse impact on the health and well being of vulnerable seniors across this great land. It must be stopped.”
The Older Americans Actwas enacted into law in 1965 and, as the U. S. Administration on Aging states on its website, is “considered to be the major vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to this group and their caregivers.” In 2011 Congress will consider reauthorize and make amendments to the law. that will be implemented beginning in 2012.
Read the entire transcript of Ms. Borden’s remarks here.
Read more about our research of senior hunger in America here.
About Meals On Wheels Association of America:
The Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is the oldest and largest national organization in the United States representing those programs that provide meals to people in need. MOWAA’s vision is to end senior hunger by 2020. To obtain more information about MOWAA or to locate a local Meals On Wheels program, visit the MOWAA website at www.mowaa.org.