Meals on Wheels Advocacy

*Please see the 6 Call to Action bullet points below.

*While the intended audience of this Call to Action is Meals on Wheels Providers and programs, ANYONE who cares about senior meals can follow these guidelines and advocate.

WASHINGTON UPDATE

Everything You Need to Know About What’s Going On

Budget Response Toolkit

Following the release of the President’s proposed Budget last week, Meals on Wheels programs nationwide have been placed in the national spotlight, so it’s time to put this extra public attention to good use. This week, as Meals on Wheels programs from across the country participate in Community Champions Week, it’s more important than ever for you to get out there and enlist elected officials, local celebrities and other prominent community figures to deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the incredible work you do to ensure that seniors are not hungry, forgotten or left behind.

BUDGET response resources

Below are several actions your program can take to mobilize your supporters and a toolkit of resources to help you navigate the impact of the proposed budget along the way.

  1. Call the President and Members of Congress – We’ve heard from many advocates that they’ve encountered full voicemail boxes when reaching out to Members of Congress, and that some offices are closed, requesting that advocates call back. Don’t be discouraged; maintain your momentum, and keep making constituent calls. Encourage your volunteers, clients and supporters to do the same! Whether it’s the Office of the President, a congressional office or a call to the state capitol, all of your elected officials need to hear your voices and your stories about why Meals on Wheels programs are crucial to meeting the needs of a fast-growing senior population. Resources to help you make calls to the President and Members of Congress can be found here.
  2. Stay Active on Social Media – Across all social media platforms, we’ve seen a huge outpouring of support, and we need your help to keep that drumbeat going. Here are a few sample tweets and Facebook/Instagram posts you can use to support your social media advocacy. Plus, feel free to use our social media-ready images to complement your posts. And, don’t forget about our #MarchforMeals social media resources, available here.
  3. Check Out Media Coverage for Your Use – Numerous media outlets have covered the news surrounding the impact that the President’s proposed Budget would have on Meals on Wheels, both locally and nationally. We’ve pulled together a collection of some of the coverage from the last few days that did an excellent job of explaining the current situation and its impact on Meals on Wheels, including several interviews with local Member programs across the country. Take a look at these pieces to inform yourself further, and consider sharing them throughout your networks.
  4. Share National Talking Points – News stories have been circulating about local Meals on Wheels programs, their funding sources and Meals on Wheels America’s funding sources, but not all of the stories have been reported accurately. You can refer to the statement we released to help clarify some of the most common misconceptions we’ve seen and heard related to this issue. You can also read our official statement in response to the President’s Budget Blueprint here.While there’s been a recent uptick in donations across the country, this cannot replace funding that comes from the federal government. We know that the challenges we face with meeting the growing need will take all of us – federal, state and local governments, businesses, and private citizens alike – working together to ensure that America’s seniors will not be hungry or left behind in the future. In fact, the nationwide network is serving 23 million fewer meals today, due to stagnant funding, than in 2005. It would take an influx of millions of dollars just to get back to the level we were over a decade ago. It is likely that your program has been contacted by the press, so we’ve compiled some high-level talking points that you can use for support in order to keep our messaging consistent across the network. You can also look to some of the media coverage above for guidance.
  5. Understand the FY 2018 Appropriations Process – Meals on Wheels America President and CEO, Ellie Hollander provided written testimony to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies urging increased funding for OAA Nutrition Programs in the coming Fiscal Year, as well as reiterating our call to adopt the Fiscal Year 2017 funding levels approved by the House Appropriations Committee last summer, before the April deadline. You can read our written testimony here and view an appropriations table here.
  6. Support Advocacy with Fact Sheets – The new 2017 National Fact Sheet is now available. This resource – intended to educate potential donors, supporters and policymakers on the challenges of senior hunger, isolation and poverty in our country today – also highlights the tremendous value of Meals on Wheels and the Older Americans Act, and how they’re a critical part of the solution. Feel free to reference or share the National Fact Sheet to spread word about Meals on Wheels’ positive impact, and keep an eye out for our 2017 State Fact Sheets, which will be released in the next few days!

QUESTIONS?

If you have any press questions, please reach out to press@mealsonwheelsamerica.org

If you have any advocacy questions, please reach out directly to our Advocacy Team:

Erika Kelly, Chief Advocacy and Government Affairs Officer erika@mealsonwheelsamerica.org or 571-339-1604

Crystal Espie, Public Policy Manager crystal@mealsonwheelsamerica.org or 571-339-1613

For the latest advocacy and legislative news, follow Erika Kelly on Twitter:  @NoSeniorHungry.

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
  • St. Barnabas Senior Services

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