June 08, 2020

Manchin HOME Meals Act Introduced In U.S. House Of Representatives

Washington, DC – Today the Helping Our Most Elderly (HOME) Meals Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in the Senate last year, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Members Filemon Vela (TX-34), John Katko (NY-24), and Lucy McBath (GA-6). Meals on Wheels (MOW) recently conducted a survey on the demand for home-based meal delivery systems, which highlights the need for Congress to increase funding programs across the country.

The bipartisan, bicameral HOME Meals Act would establish a competitive grant program to repair, replace, and customize home-based meal delivery vehicles that provide nutritious meals to seniors who are restricted to their homes for various reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted seniors and has affected their ability to get food on their own, highlighting the need for home-based meal delivery systems.

“I am pleased my colleagues in the House of Representatives introduced the HOME Meals Act today.  This bipartisan, bicameral legislation is vital to ensuring our seniors are taken care of and receive the home based nutrition they need.  This system also provides seniors with social interaction, which many older Americans and West Virginians lack," said Senator Manchin.  "The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on our nursing homes and other care facilities, but we must also look to our seniors who live at home independently who still need our help and care.  I look forward to working with my bipartisan colleagues to pass this legislation in both chambers to send this to the President’s desk for signature so we can upgrade and repair our delivery vehicles to better help West Virginians and Americans across our nation receive the nutrition and care they need.”

Meals on Wheels for America recently conducted a survey that found every MOW program is experiencing a demand increase since March 1, 2020. In fact, four out of five programs reported receiving more than double the requests in the same time frame. According to MOW, programs reported substantive shifts in their operations in April, compared to the week prior to March 1:

·         89 percent of programs have seen an increase in meal requests; of those, 79 percent report the number of new requests for meals has at least doubled

·         Programs are serving 56 percent more meals and 22 percent more seniors per week

            o   29 percent of rural programs have increased the number of seniors served by 50 percent or more

·         Waiting lists for meals, which existed before the COVID-19 crisis, have grown by 26 percent

·         Aside from funding, 63 percent of programs report that acquiring safety supplies (gloved, masks, etc.) is the biggest challenge