In March, Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley (MOWGLV) participated in a special March for Meals celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, the federal legislation that helps to fund community-based programs like Meals on Wheels. MOWGLV joined the national Meals on Wheels network to raise awareness and rally support for this vital public-private partnership that has helped provide seniors throughout the Lehigh Valley with an essential service needed to remain healthy and independent at home.
“Medically-tailored meals delivered regularly are vital to the good nutrition and independence of seniors in our community,” says Victoria Coyle, CEO of Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “Medical studies continue to show that diets tailored to the health condition of an individual help them to better manage overall health. Of course, the daily wellness checks and friendly outreach of our delivery volunteers are also critical to addressing social isolation.”
This annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the historic day in March of 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. This year, Meals on Wheels programs from across the country joined forces to celebrate the 50 years of success and to garner the support needed to ensure these critical programs can continue to address food insecurity and malnutrition, combat social isolation, enable independence, and improve health for years to come.
“The Older Americans Act Nutrition Program is the only federally supported program designed to be an antidote for both senior hunger and isolation,” said Ellie Hollander, President, and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “Despite decades of proven success and bipartisan support, funding for this program has failed to keep pace with the rapidly growing need for its services. With the nation’s senior population increasing dramatically, now is the time to support local Meals on Wheels programs – through volunteering, donating, and speaking out – to ensure we can deliver for another 50 years.”
Throughout March, prominent local and state legislative officials joined MOWGLV volunteers and staff to help deliver meals to Lehigh Valley seniors. Legislators who joined in the celebration include Congresswoman Susan Wild, PA Representatives Zach Mako, and Mike Schlossberg; PA Senator Browne’s office was represented by Urban Affairs Liaison, Altagracia Mercado. Also participating were Mayors Mike Harakal (Whitehall) and Matt Tuerk (Allentown), as well as Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong.
Thank you to all who joined us and who showed support for our mission to end senior hunger in the Lehigh Valley.