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ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Meals On Wheels Association of America announced today that AARP Foundation provided $350,000 to fund a research study that evaluates costs and benefits of Meals on Wheels, which provides nutritious meals and a social connection to homebound and hungry seniors.

"AARP Foundation is pleased to formally support the important work that Meals on Wheels provides," said Jo Ann Jenkins, President AARP Foundation. "Isolated seniors depend on the volunteers not only for nutritious meals, but also for the benefits of human contact. Sadly, the staff and volunteers are often the only people these seniors see."

The research grant comes at an increasingly critical time. Over the past several years, federal, state and local funding cuts, increased transportation and food costs, and the lingering effects of the economic downturn have resulted in hundreds of thousands fewer seniors served, millions of fewer meals delivered, waiting lists swelling at record rates, and program doors being shuttered. The recent sequester makes this situation all the more dire. According to a recent post-sequester survey of the Meals on Wheels network, local programs across the country have been forced to cut, on average, 364 meals per week, and have increased their waiting lists on average by 58 seniors.

"We are proud to work with AARP Foundation in helping to fight senior hunger in our communities," said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of the Meals On Wheels Association of America. "AARP Foundation's funding will enable us to measure the health and economic impact of the traditional Meals on Wheels model. Ultimately, we seek to prove that the Meals on Wheels delivery system – the nutritious meals, along with the daily social contact and routine safety check – does, in fact, result in considerable impact and improved outcomes over meals drop-shipped to one's front door."

Dr. Kali Thomas, Investigator at Brown University's Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, will be the principal researcher for this project, anticipated to involve approximately 600 seniors.

About Meals On Wheels Association of America

The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 States and Territories. Collectively, these programs serve approximately one million meals a day to our nation's seniors, either by delivering meals directly to the homes of seniors whose mobility is limited – commonly referred to as Meals on Wheels – or by providing meals in a group setting, such as those served in a senior center. More than 70 percent of the members of our association provide both types of services for seniors in their communities. As a national organization and network, we are working together so no senior goes hungry. For more information or to locate a local Meals On Wheels program, visit

About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP's affiliated charity. Learn more at

CONTACT: Jenny Bertolette Communications Director 571-339-1603

Source:Meals on Wheels