Director of Communications
Meals On Wheels Association of America
For Immediate Release
New Poverty Estimate Re-Enforces Disturbing Trends Witnessed by Meals On Wheels
Senior Population Growing Faster Than Ever While Their Expenses Continue to Rise
ALEXANDRIA, VA (January 12, 2011) - The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimate of America’s poor paints a disturbing picture of seniors in need – a trend that many Meals On Wheels programs are experiencing first hand. Using a revised formula to analyze 2009 data, the Census Bureau found that a staggering 16.1 percent of Americans 65 and older were living in poverty – a jump from the 8.9 percent that was reported last year using the Bureau’s traditional formula.
The new poverty formula, published as another snapshot of America’s poor alongside the Bureau’s traditional measurement, takes into account out-of-pocket medical costs and other expenses that seniors face. Research sponsored by the Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) has found that one in nine seniors faces the threat of hunger – which is approximately six million Americans.
“America’s seniors need help now more than ever,” said MOWAA President and CEO Enid Borden. “This latest statistic only reveals how important it is for Meals On Wheels to continue providing seniors with the nutritious food and human contact they desperately need to survive.”
In San Diego, Calif., about 20% of Meals On Wheels clients have been forced to reduce the number of meals they receive – and blame the rising costs of healthcare and living expenses. Instead of paying $7 for two meals each day, many seniors can only afford to pay $4 for one meal. Many Meals On Wheels clients there have even reduced the number of days they receive meals.
“We are very worried about their health and well-being,” said Debbie Case, President and CEO of Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, Inc. “Seniors are choosing between food and housing or medication.”
Meals On Wheels provides more than one million meals each day to America’s sixty-and-over population. In fact, the rate of growth of our senior population has never been greater. Beginning this year, a Baby Boomer in America turns 65 every eight seconds, according to the Pew Research Center.
To contact your local Meals On Wheels program for quotes about this story, please visit the MOWAA program locator.
News outlets are welcome to use the following images for coverage of this story:
Right click the images to save them to your hard drive. These images are also links that will take you to higher-resolution versions. Problems viewing the photos or want to choose from others? Go to www.mowaa.org/press. Video b-roll of Meals On Wheels deliveries and food preparation is also available for download from that web page.
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 mission 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.
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...so no senior goes hungry®