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Meals on Wheels – Providing Much More Than A Meal


In response to confusion around federal funding received by Meals on Wheels:  Meals on Wheels services are provided directly to seniors by a nationwide network of 5,000 local community-run programs that, in the aggregate, receive 35% of their funding from the federal government. Some media outlets have incorrectly reported this number to be 3%, confusing it with the federal funding received by Meals on Wheels America, the national membership organization that does not provide direct services (e.g., meals). This miscommunication dramatically understates the significant impact of any federal budget cuts that may affect Meals on Wheels. 


What we know about the budget so far:  The 35% federal funding that goes directly to local Meals on Wheels programs comes from the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program that falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The impact on these funds has not yet been announced but, given the proposed 17.9% cut prescribed for HHS, could be at risk. Also announced is the proposed elimination of two block grant programs (Community Services Block Grant and Community Development Block Grant) that are available for states to direct, at their discretion, to a large number of community programs which for some states includes augmented funding for Meals on Wheels. The fate of a third block grant program that also provides discretionary money for states to use for nutrition services (Social Services Block Grant) falls under HHS, but details have not yet been announced.


The reality: is that 1 in 6 seniors struggle with hunger and 1 in 4 are isolated and living alone.  We must recognize the urgent need facing Vermont’s seniors and commit to addressing it.

Here are five reasons why:

  1. The need is severe and continues to grow.  Today more than 17,000 Vermonters face the threat of hunger and nearly 40,000 are living alone and have difficulty paying for basic living needs.  With the senior population set to double by 2050, this trend will only continue if left unaddressed.
  2. Funding is failing to keep pace.  On top of federal funding cuts, programs are experiencing state and local budget cuts, increasing transportation and food costs, unprecedented demand for services, and smaller private donations in a slow economy.  This funding reality, coupled with an increasing need, means that Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs (including Age Well’s) are serving fewer meals today than they were in 2005.
  3. The pain is real, and it is being felt.  Unfortunately, waiting lists for Meals on Wheels programs grow longer every day and those that rely on them are among our most vulnerable.  Those who rely on Meals on Wheels are significantly more likely to report poorer health, screen positive for depression and report recent falls.
  4. Meals on Wheels programs provide a unique service.  They are the only federally-supported programs designed specifically to meet the needs of seniors.  The combination of proper nutrition, a safety check and a friendly visit offers the total package that enables seniors to remain healthier, independent and at home, where they want to be.
  5. Investing in Meals on Wheels actually saves taxpayer dollars.  We can provide a senior with Meals on Wheels for an entire year for about the same cost as one day in the hospital.  There’s no doubt that increasing investment for Meals on Wheels is a win-win for our families, our communities and our state as a whole.

At this critical juncture, when both the need and demand for nutritious meals are substantial and growing, we implore our community and elected officials to make the needs of our most vulnerable and isolated seniors a higher priority.  We can either invest in Vermont’s aging population now, or spend much more on the negative consequences later.


Ready to March? Join Age Well's 2017 March for Meals

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Are you ready to March for Meals? Help us fight the three biggest threats facing our aging population: hunger, isolation and loss of independence. The statistics regarding Vermont seniors are startling: 

 42,112 are living in or near poverty

 39,866 are isolated, living alone

 20,356 are threatened by hunger

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Guest Blog: Experience Never Gets Old

Liz VogelThere is a brilliant element of our personal development and it is the level of our awareness at any given time. The awareness of what we know. Our experience. In our youth, there is often a bravado of how much we know and some of that comes from how fast we learn new things measured against the scope of our world. When we are young, the scope of our world is fairly contained and the awe of learning something new, and having the ability to share it, rivals little else. We are discovering things for the first time.

The sensation of sharing our knowledge rarely leaves us throughout our lives, but the boundaries of our worlds expand and we can sometimes be more in awe of the breadth and depth and complexity of our world, and that thrill of sharing our knowledge gets melded with so many other components of our lives. We can forget what that feeling is like to have the time and space to share our wisdom.


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Aging with Purpose

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Welcome to Age Well’s first 2017 blog post! With the holiday season behind us, I want to share with you some of our exciting plans for the coming year.

Our name change last year (from CVAA to Age Well) signified a new way of thinking about the process of growing older. Instead of dreading or denying the reality of aging, Age Well believes that we should embrace and celebrate it.  We’re committed to maximizing quality of life by enabling our community to approach the aging process with confidence, determination and purpose.

In the months ahead, Age Well will continue to roll out new programs and strategies designed to enhance the health and well-being of the people we serve, placing an emphasis on monitoring and optimizing our clients’ health and wellness. 

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Share the Love this Holiday Season with Subaru!

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Share the Love this Holiday Season with Subaru!

Are you in the market to buy a Subaru or know of someone who is?

We wanted to let you know about another way that you can support Age Well this holiday season:  the Subaru Share the Love Event. For the past eight years, Subaru has donated nearly $10 million to the Meals on Wheels network—that’s the equivalent of more than 1.4 million meals to seniors across the country!
Here’s how it works: 
From now until January 3, 2017, for every new Subaru vehicle leased or sold, Subaru will donate $250 to the customer’s choice of participating charities.

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76 Pearl Street, Ste. 201 Essex Junction, VT 05452
Age Well is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Donations are tax deductible.
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