CONGRESSMEN JOE MORELLE AND RON WRIGHT INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTEERS CARING FOR VULNERABLE AMERICANS
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressmen Joe Morelle (D-NY-25) and Ron Wright (R-TX-06) introduced legislation to support the many volunteers of programs that deliver food to older, vulnerable Americans. The Delivering Elderly Lunches and Increasing Volunteer Engagement and Reimbursements (DELIVER) Act of 2019 will help eliminate barriers that prevent charitable organizations like Meals on Wheels from reaching more individuals.
“Every day, thousands of volunteers dedicate their time and energy to ensuring older Americans have nutritious meals they can count on,” said Rep. Joe Morelle. “We should be doing everything we can to help these selfless community members serve more people. I’m proud to work alongside Representative Wright to introduce this common-sense legislation that lifts the burden on volunteers and allows them to serve more citizens in need.”
“I have seen the effect Meals on Wheels has had on my community throughout the years and I am grateful for the investment of so many volunteers,” said Rep. Ron Wright. “Being homebound and receiving a visit from someone is an incredible blessing. However, Meals on Wheels and other charitable delivery services face rising cost associated with using personal vehicles that we must address.”
Currently, the tax deduction for the charitable use of a passenger automobile to deliver meals to homebound individuals is 14 cents per mile – a rate that has remained unchanged for nearly two decades.
This legislation seeks to raise that deduction to the standard business rate, which in 2019 is 58 cents per mile, bringing equity to the millions of Americans who volunteer their time and resources to deliver meals to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Volunteers truly are the lifeline of Meals on Wheels, working tirelessly to ensure at-risk, homebound seniors don’t go without the nutrition, safety checks and human connections that are so critical to their health and well-being,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “We must do all we can to remove any unnecessary burden on our volunteers, many of whom may drive dozens or even hundreds of miles each week to reach seniors in communities of all sizes. As our nation’s senior population and the corresponding need for our services continue to grow, we’ll need volunteers more than ever to help deliver to the most vulnerable Americans.”
More than 1 million seniors in New York are living alone while 591,000 are threatened by hunger and 487,000 live in or near poverty. Across the state, Meals on Wheels programs serve over 24 million meals to more than 248,500 seniors each year through home-delivery and congregate nutrition services. Not only do they deliver healthy meals, Meals on Wheels volunteers also provide important social interaction for seniors living alone, improving their quality of life. This legislation would ease the burden on their many volunteers and allow them to serve more seniors in New York and across the country.
This legislation is sponsored in the Senate by Senators King (I-ME) & Cornyn (R-TX).