While most of us are in the mode of ‘back to school’ and celebrating the end of triple-digits season, for those of us who work in human services, September is Hunger Action Month, a time when we need to take a hard look at the issue of senior hunger through this nationwide awareness campaign. Why? Because hunger-related statistics continue to be unsettling: hungry seniors sacrifice their quality of life and are more likely to develop adverse health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems.
According to Meals on Wheels America, the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country, in California more than one million seniors are threatened by hunger. In Placer County alone, 30% of adults over the age of 60 – that works out to almost 28,000 people – do not know with certainty where their next meal will come from.
In the ‘industry’, this is known as food insecurity. Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all of the time. Food insecurity may simply reflect a recurring need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as rent or medications, heat or electricity, and purchasing nutritionally adequate food – decisions no one should have to make, let alone our elderly.
To combat this problem in our local area, Seniors First offers two programs to provide healthy meals to hungry seniors. The organization manages eight neighborhood congregation sites,
known as Senior Cafes
, where seniors can interact and enjoy a warm meal at a nominal, if not free, price. Visit our website
for a list of locations, eligibility requirements and transportation options.
In addition, Seniors First launched MyMeals
, a home delivery service, last year. Through the program, homebound seniors from Auburn to Lincoln can subscribe to receive Senior Café meals delivered to their homes by a friendly, vetted volunteer. Some seniors may qualify for subsidies.
Of course, neither of these programs can be successful without the support of volunteer
s to serve as delivery or transportation drivers. If you or someone you know is able to donate a few hours per month, please get in touch with Barb
, our volunteer coordinator.