03.18.09

Vermont Delegation Announces Release Of Economic Recovery Act Funds For Senior Nutrition Assistance

(WEDNESDAY, March 18, 2009) -- Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch Wednesday announced that the federal Department of Health and Human Services is releasing funds to Vermont for senior nutrition programs under the recently enacted economic recovery plan.  The economic crisis, combined with the growing number of older Americans and the rising cost of food, has led to increased demand for senior services across the country.

Vermont will receive $485,000 to help older Vermonters who are in need of meals and nutrition services.  The majority of the funds, $325,000, will be directed to groups that administer nutrition services to seniors, such as church groups and senior centers.  The rest of the funds, $160,000, will be directed to home-delivered nutrition programs such as Meals On Wheels.  These funds are allocated to states under a population-based formula that takes into account the population of people 60-years and older; Vermont’s funding is based on a population of 120,196 persons 60 and older.

Leahy said, “These services are an indispensible lifeline for many seniors who are feeling the strains of this economic downturn, just as all Vermonters are.  These funds will put food on the table in a time of special need.  Meals On Wheels helps bridge the gap.”

Sanders said, “I applaud these efforts to address the critical problem of senior nutrition in our nation.  These challenges have only increased due to our difficult economic times.”  In December of 2008, Sanders authored a letter he and his colleagues sent to the Senate leadership to encourage inclusion of Meals On Wheels and senior center-based nutrition programs in the economic recovery package.  Sanders wrote, “Not only do these programs help Americans who are in great need, but would provide the kind of quick and effective stimulus that economists say will stimulate economic activity.”

Welch said, “While this economic crisis has touched every Vermonter, seniors and others living on fixed incomes have been hit the hardest. I am pleased that Vermont will be able to immediately put this much-needed stimulus money to work keeping food on the table for our most vulnerable populations.”

Vermont’s Congressional Delegation continues to applaud President Obama for acting quickly in releasing funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which the President signed on February 17.

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