News Releases and Media Advisories

KDADS Announces $2 Million in Additional Funding for Senior Nutrition Services; States Receive Additional Grants from HHS to Feed Older Americans During COVID-19 Outbreak

For Immediate Release

March 27, 2020

For more information, contact:
Cara Sloan-Ramos

785-296-0807

TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced today that Kansas has received just over $2 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grants from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to help communities provide meals for older adults.

Funding has been provided to states, territories and tribes for subsequent allocation to local meal providers. KDADS has received $2,036,837 under this grant program and is distributing $678,946 to fund congregate meals (as a general rule for those older than age 60 years) and $1,357,891 to provide home meals (as a general rule for those homebound adults older than 60 years). This additional funding allows communities across the state flexibility at not only the area level but the direct service level to ensure services are available to those affected during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“Partners like Meals on Wheels and the Area Agencies on Aging have worked tirelessly over the past weeks to coordinate services, overcome challenges and really use innovative solutions to respond to the needs of seniors across our state, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their efforts to get nutrition services to those who need it most right now,” Secretary Howard said. “To reinforce the efforts of our partners, our staff is working quickly to ensure these additional federal dollars get into their hands within a matter of days.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act*, signed into law March 18, provided the additional funding for the nutrition services programs authorized by the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. These programs provide more than 3 million meals to more than 33,000 Kansans each year, both through home delivery and in places like community centers. The need for these services, particularly home-delivered and packaged meals, has increased as community measures to slow transmission of COVID-19 have closed meal sites.

“We are pleased to see additional funding for nutrition services to allow vulnerable older adults to remain safe in their homes and still receive the daily home delivered meal they depend upon,” Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Susan Harris said. “I expect as time goes on, there will be an increased need for home delivered meals and this funding will allow us to make sure older adults are safe and cared for.”

Community partners have adapted to seeing growing numbers of seniors and communities asking for help and are stepping up to the challenge. Karren Weichert, President and CEO for Midland Care Connection, tells us, for example, they are:

  • Continuing to operate the Meals on Wheels program using paid staff, volunteers and community partners to provide uninterrupted home delivery of service, preparation of self-stable meals and a grab-and-go option at congregate sites.
  • Making additional members of their team available to call homebound clients to make sure they’re doing okay and to provide a friendly voice over the phone during this time of increased social isolation. 
  • Taking extra precautions to protect health of staff, volunteers and clients in the preparation and delivery of each meal.

Older adults who need assistance can find a congregate meal site in their neighborhood or community or information about home delivered meals by calling the Area Agencies on Aging at 855-200-2372 where they will be directed to assistance in their area.

Under the current circumstances, there is a need for additional volunteers to deliver meals across the state. If you would like to volunteer your time and do not fall into any of the high-risk categories for COVID-19, please call 855-200-2372.

*As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, additional federal legislation may make available further additional funding for OAA programs. We are currently monitoring the passage of the third part of an economic stimulus bill under consideration in Congress that as currently written appropriates an additional $820 million for OAA programs which, coupled with the $250 million from the prior COVID-19 relief package, results in more than $1 billion of additional OAA funding. The $820 million proposed in this bill includes $480 million for OAA Title III-C Nutrition Services. If passed, Kansas would receive funding based on the population-based formulas defined in the OAA.