WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thursday, Congressman Joe Barton (R-Ennis/Arlington) and Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) introduced HR 4942, the DELIVER Act (Delivering Elderly Lunches and Increasing Volunteer Engagement and Reimbursements).

Barton released the following statement:

“In my hometown of Ennis, I have been a longtime advocate for Meals-on-Wheels,” Barton released in a statement. “They provide an invaluable service in the delivery of meals, social contact, and safety checks to our most vulnerable citizens. I introduced this bill to benefit charitable volunteers and to let them know their work for our community is not unseen.

“This short, concise bill amends the tax code to increase the tax deduction for volunteers who deliver meals to homebound individuals. At present, these volunteers are only able to deduct the charity mileage rate, as opposed to the standard mileage rate, on their annual tax returns. This year, the difference in deduction is a shocking 40 cents per mile.

“This bill helps people who use their own personal vehicle, on their own time to deliver meals to some of our most frail Americans. As our population continues to get older, the need for these compassionate volunteers will only be amplified. The spirit of volunteering one’s time and resources helps make our communities stronger, and the DELIVER Act recognizes the efforts and costs that could burden volunteers by offering them an increased way to offset a portion on their tax return.”

Founded in 1977, the Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis County organization currently serves a total of 2,400 elderly and disabled persons per year in a two-county service area that covers more than 1,700 square miles, according to its website.

“Incredible thanks to representatives Barton and Lewis for putting the DELIVER Act into motion,” Ellie Hollander, CEO of Meals-on-Wheels America, added in a press release. “Volunteers who use their own vehicles to deliver nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens are the heart and soul of Meals-on-Wheels. Recognizing their value and dedication through an increase in the charitable mileage rate will not only enable them to continue to provide this irreplaceable support, but also encourage others to step up to help meet the increasing demand for Meals-on-Wheels.”