Older Americans Act Advances with Bennet-Backed ‘Locally Grown Foods’ Provision

Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today helped advance a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act with a provision that will encourage the use of locally grown foods by nutrition services providers. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously approved the bill.

"This bill is extremely important for Colorado's seniors that depend on services like Meals on Wheels and the Congregate Meal Program," Bennet said. "In addition to reauthorizing resources for crucial services, this bill will encourage nutrition service providers to use locally grown foods when possible. This will help put fresh, nutritious food in the hands of those who need it while also supporting Colorado's farmers and ranchers and the local economy."

"Nearly one in seven older Coloradans may not know when or where they will get their next meal," said Kathy Underhill, executive director for Hunger Free Colorado. "We applaud Sen. Bennet and the other delegates who advanced this bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. If passed, it will provide Colorado with appropriate federal funding, so our state can better serve our growing older adult population with the nutritious food needed to maintain healthy, independent lifestyles."

Bennet also submitted statements for the record on other provisions he would like to see in the bill as it moves forward. He will push to improve services for LGBT seniors by including them as a vulnerable population in "greatest social need." This provision would also permanently establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

Bennet's other priority would ensure that community services and supports in OAA are accessible to seniors who may face certain cultural or language barriers to receiving assistance. It emphasizes a need for states and communities to plan for the changing demographics of our senior population, such as appropriate cultural and language resources for cases of elder abuse.

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