Dear Older Adults, Caregivers, and Supporters,
Each weekday, Coastline drivers fill up their trucks and hit the road, personally delivering nutritious lunches to older adults in their homes. Collectively, they, along with our group lunch staff, deliver several hundred thousand meals – more than 400,000 in 2023 – with a smile and friendly hello.
That’s a 56% increase in meals served over the past 10 years, the same period that federal funding – the main financial support for this free program – has essentially remained flat.
Each year, Coastline juggles increases in wages, meals, and fuel to continue to meet the growing need in our communities. Each year, we face a growing deficit.
Until this year, the state has stepped up to increase its funding for senior nutrition. It has helped and we are grateful for it, but it hasn’t made up more than a small percentage of the funding.
This year is different. The governor’s proposed funding cuts in the face of lower tax revenues takes even this thin lifeline away from aging service organizations. These cuts mean that even as we sign up more seniors to receive meals, even as we meet rising costs, funding will decrease.
It means bridging the funding gap in 2024 will be even harder and, for the first time, may force Coastline to make the difficult decision that programs across the country have already made – to establish a waiting list for meals.
Currently, 1 in 3 U.S. senior programs already have a waitlist with an average wait time of three months for elders in need. Nationally, Meals on Wheels America is working hard to support increased federal funds for senior nutrition in the Older Americans Act. But it is coming up against a hard deadline with Congress making its final funding decisions by Feb. 2.
In Massachusetts, Mass Home Care and other groups are also mobilizing to save these vital programs.
You can help us never have to turn away an older adult in need.
Reach out to your friends and families and let them know about the need for action! It’s time for legislators to hear directly from their older constituents and their families how important this program is.
- Email Congressional leaders through Meals on Wheels America’s #SaveLunch campaign here: Action Center (votervoice.net)
- Call or email Congressman Bill Keating at one of his local offices. See contact information here: Contact | Congressman Bill Keating (house.gov)
- Tell your local legislators how important Meals on Wheels is to you and your loved ones. Find your local representatives’ contact information here.
- Share your support on social media: Use the hashtags #MealsOnWheels and #SaveLunch when you post. Example: “As our population ages, the need for #MealsOnWheels continues to grow. Join me in calling on Congress to increase federal funding for #MealsOnWheels and #SaveLunch for our seniors.”