Loebsack serves meals to seniors


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When Congress reconvenes in January 2015, Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, believes he’ll have anecdotes ready to go fight for senior benefits.

“Getting out and meeting people, talking to them about how important this is gives me ammunition and evidence, if you will, for why we need to continue these programs,” Loebsack said.

He said he plans to visit more than 10 cities in the 2nd District to deliver hot meals to seniors through the Meals on Wheels program.

The congressman said the biggest fear he hears from seniors are cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

“Social Security, Medicare — these kinds of programs are that much more critical every year,” Loebsack said.

The meal program in Johnson County is run through Elder Services Inc., which Sandy Andreasen, the marketing director of the service, said it delivers around 150 meals to seniors six days a week.

Andreasen said seniors especially enjoy getting their meals delivered by Loebsack, noting that it puts extra smiles on their faces.

“It allows them to see that people care about them, that they’re represented,” she said.

Loebsack said the program is a great experience for him to hear from supporters and opposition alike.

“They talk to me about their families, their lives, and they’re happy to see their congressman,” he said. “But if they’re not, they’ll let me know so.”

The Meals on Wheels program is more than just a hot meal, and Andreasen said it could potentially be the only interaction the independent seniors have all day.

To qualify for the program, people must be homebound by reasons of illness, incapacitating disability, or otherwise isolated, according to the Elder Services website.

Melissa Fox, a volunteer coordinator for Elder Services, said volunteers in general make the Meals on Wheels program possible.

“It’s a wonderful service who can help anyone, but it’s especially important for those folks who fall in the lower-income category,” she said. “It may be the only well-balanced meal they get.”

According to the Alliance for Retired Americans, which rates Congress on a 0-100 scale for voting records related to senior issues, Loebsack has scored a 93 in his congressional career.

“For me, issues related to older Iowans are absolutely critical if you look at the demographics of Iowa,” he said. “We have an increasingly aging population.”

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