SENATE, No. 463






      The Assembly Human Services Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 463.

      Senate Bill No. 463 establishes the “Meals on Wheels in New Jersey Fund” and provides for a designation on the State gross income tax return that will permit taxpayers to make voluntary contributions to the fund.

      Meals on Wheels America is a 26 U.S.C. s.503(c)(3) tax exempt organization that provides services in the State of New Jersey through a network of independently-run local programs throughout the State.  The “Meals on Wheels in New Jersey Fund” is to support the Meals on Wheels local programs in their mission to provide nutritious meals to senior citizens and, thereby, help senior citizens to live healthier lives in the privacy of their own homes.

      The meals provided by the Meals on Wheels local programs ensure that the senior citizens receive proper nutrition, which has been linked to a strengthened immune system, faster healing time, and increased mental acuity.  Furthermore, nutrition is not the only benefit provided by the Meals on Wheels local programs.  In instances when a meal is delivered to the senior citizen’s home, the Meals on Wheels volunteer performs a safety check and, in the case of an emergency, can call the authorities.  In instances when the meals are provided in a communal setting, such as a community center, senior citizens receive valuable social interaction along with a nutritious meal.

     As reported by the committee, this bill is identical to Assembly Bill No. 5513 (Dancer/Calabrese/DeAngelo), which the committee also reported on this date.