Washington, D.C. – Recognizing that hunger is an often overlooked side effect to a poor economy, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced today that Oregon will receive $1.2 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide meals to low income senior citizens.
“This money comes at a time when an estimated 12 percent of Oregon families don’t have enough food on their shelves, when Oregon ranks as the third hungriest state in the nation, when food stamp applications are increasing and when local food banks are being flooded,” Wyden said. “These much needed funds will increase the number of meals provided to some of our most vulnerable older adults who are finding that their Social Security checks don’t stretch as far as they need to.”
“As food insecurity rises, so does our obligation to stem it. These funds are a literal lifeline for Oregon seniors who could not get by without these programs. Helping our most vulnerable seniors through this difficult time is a critical component of getting our nation back on track,” said Merkley.
Of the $1.2 million coming to Oregon, $800,000 will be used for meals at senior centers and other locations and $400,000 will go to meals on wheels programs. In addition to providing meals, the money will also restore nutrition services that have been cut and restore positions which may have been eliminated or reduced.
The money is Oregon’s share of the $100 million in the ARRA that is expected to provide nearly 14 million meals nationwide. The Recovery Act provides $65 million for congregate nutrition services provided at senior centers and other community sites, $32 million for home-delivered nutrition services delivered to frail elders at home and $3 million for Native American nutrition programs.