According to Feeding America, in 2019, 5.2 million seniors aged 60 and older faced hunger. That’s 1 in 14 seniors or just over 7% of all seniors. 63% of seniors visiting food banks say they have to choose between food and medical care. I am concerned that the statistics post-pandemic will not show to be trending upward. One of the ways America helps our elderly population with this tragedy is though the service called Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels is a nationwide network of community-based, non-profit programs dedicated to providing seniors in their communities with the support that enables them to remain living in their own homes. For most seniors, staying in their homes where they want to be. The support this agency provides is typically a nutritious meal, a friendly visit and a quick safety check. Some seniors look forward to that meal as it may be the one and only visit they get in a day or even an entire week.
So, it’s easy to understand the importance of the nutritious meals, friendly visit and welfare checks for our senior citizens. What I want to create awareness on is the collaboration that should happen between the local food shelves and the local meal providers for Meals on Wheels. It’s important that agencies work together so that we can maintain existence of these programs and keep these seniors fed in a sustainable way. Passing on the valuable information as a resource to each person receiving the meal delivery service can provide a resource referral that might not have been know to this population.
If struggling seniors were made aware of resources like the ones in this article, we can get the right programs in the hands of those in need. Second Harvest Heartland should provide the food and some hand-out materials for the Meals on Wheels delivery drivers to provide so these seniors have the information at the palm of their hands. I hope we can work together to make this happen and get the numbers of seniors suffering from food insecurity down NOW!