BURLINGTON, Vt., May 7 – To celebrate Older Americans Month, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recognized the outstanding work of Vermont’s Meals on Wheels programs. Consistent with this year’s theme, “Engage at Every Age,” Sanders pointed to the hundreds of older Vermonters who volunteer their time to help deliver meals across the state.
Last year, Meals on Wheels delivered more than 1 million freshly cooked and nutritious meals to seniors across Vermont. “There is no question that Meals on Wheels is helping ensure Vermonters have access to adequate nutrition. However, the program does much more than just deliver a nutritious meal,” Sanders said.
“A visit from a Meals on Wheels volunteer provides invaluable social interaction for seniors who may be feeling isolated in their homes. Moreover, the volunteers routinely check to make sure that seniors are safe, secure and warm,” Sanders said. “It is no exaggeration to say that these safety checks have saved Vermonters’ lives.”
A 2015 study from the Government Accountability Office requested by Sanders found that more than one in five seniors do not know where their next meal is coming from. “It is simply unacceptable that millions of older adults in this country are living in poverty and struggling to feed themselves. A great nation is not judged by the tax breaks it gives to billionaires. Rather, it is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable, including its seniors,” Sanders said. “That is why we must expand nutrition programs like Meals on Wheels.”
The Older Americans Act, long championed by Sanders, who is the ranking member of the Senate subcommittee on retirement security, provides funding for critically important services for nearly 12 million seniors. In addition to Meals on Wheels, those services include caregiver support, transportation for seniors, job training, protection from abuse and financial exploitation and more. Along with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Older Americans Act is a critical part of the country’s support system for seniors.
Earlier this year, Sanders helped secure almost $60 million in additional funding for senior nutrition services, which will mean nearly $300,000 more for these programs here in Vermont. “This is a victory for seniors in Vermont and across the country. However, I strongly believe more funding is needed for our seniors, which is why I wrote a letter, signed by 32 of my Senate colleagues, calling for a significant funding increase for the Older Americans Act.”
To read Sanders’ letter, click here
To read Sanders’ remarks in the Congressional Record celebrating the Meals on Wheels program in Vermont, click here
To watch a video of Sanders’ three recent town meetings to discuss issues of importance to older Vermonters, click here
To watch a video of Sanders’ staff joining Meals on Wheels volunteers to deliver meals to older Vermonters, click here
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