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May 25, 2022

King, Cornyn Introduce Bill to Boost Senior Meal Delivery Programs

With gas prices on the rise, DELIVER ACT will raise tax deduction for personal vehicles bringing nutritious food to 15,000 Maine people statewide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today introduced the Delivering Elderly Lunches and Increasing Volunteer Engagement and Reimbursements (DELIVER) Act, to support volunteer initiatives within meal delivery programs and help provide meals to more seniors across Maine and America. Specifically, the bipartisan legislation would increase the existing charitable mileage tax deduction rate of 14 cents per mile – which has remained unchanged for more than two decades – to match the standard business rate of 58 cents per mile.

“Thousands of seniors across our state rely on warm, nutritious home-delivered meals and the selfless volunteers who bring them,” said Senator King. “These volunteers are critical to Maine communities, and as the cost of making these deliveries rise, we need to ensure that our Good Samaritans can continue to fulfill this vital role without incurring large personal costs. The bipartisan DELIVER Act would increase mileage deductions for volunteers, so they can continue to do their invaluable work and improve the lives of Maine seniors across the state. I’m deeply grateful for the work of Maine’s meal-delivery services, and hope we can pass this bipartisan legislation to give them the support they deserve.”

“For decades, charitable organizations and faith-based groups have provided meals to seniors in communities across Texas,” said Senator Cornyn. “By removing barriers for folks willing to offer their time and resources to help others, more Texans in need can receive food, and these important charities can grow their network of volunteers."

“Our Meals on Wheels program is overwhelmingly supported by volunteer delivery drivers, without whom, we would not be able to sustain this program,” said Gerard Queally, President & CEO of Spectrum Generations. “Many of our volunteers donate their mileage back/forgo the mileage reimbursement in order to allow us to serve more meals. For those who request mileage reimbursement, we do so at $0.42/mile and any increase to the allowable mileage tax deduction for volunteers will help us in our ongoing efforts to recruit and retain a strong volunteer force. With record high gas prices and the ongoing pandemic, our volunteer drivers need all of the support that we can give them.”

Volunteers who deliver healthy meals to elderly, disabled, frail, or at-risk individuals through programs like Maine’s Meals on Wheels provide a crucial service that allows our nation’s most vulnerable citizens to maintain the choice to continue living independently in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Currently, the tax deduction for the charitable use of a passenger automobile to deliver meals to homebound individuals is 14 cents per mile – a rate that has remained unchanged for nearly two decades. The DELIVER Act would increase the tax deduction for the charitable use of a passenger automobile to deliver meals to homebound individuals who are elderly, disabled, frail, or at-risk from 14 cents per mile to the standard business rate, which is currently 58 cents per mile.

According to Meals on Wheels, there are almost 75,000 Maine seniors who are threatened by hunger. Across the state, Meals on Wheels programs serve 800,000 meals to almost 15,000 seniors each year through home-delivery and congregate nutrition services.

Senator King has been a strong advocate for volunteer and community services. During the COIVD-19 pandemic, King made support for meal delivery programs like Meals on Wheels one of his top relief priorities, and cosponsored legislation to allow health professionals to volunteer during federally-declared disasters. Senator King also highlighted the importance of community service in the December episode of his Inside Maine podcast and radio show.

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