“Young and old would sit down to a feast. And they’d feast! And they’d feast! And they’d FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
Dr. Seuss may have been describing the Whos down in Whoville, but the scene is not far off the mark this time of year. No sooner have we cleaned up the dishes from one extravagant meal then we are on to planning the next holiday spread.
But as we enjoy gathering with friends and family to share lovingly prepared food, we can sometimes forget how many people don’t know the luxury of a full pantry. In the United States, more than 10 million people over the age of 50 are at risk of hunger every day, according to the Huffington Post. Food insecurity among seniors often results in an increased risk for long-term health problems including chronic illness such diabetes and high blood pressure as well as mental health challenges. These health issues in turn create an even greater financial burden on low-income households.
With the number of seniors set to double by 2050, providing healthy meals to older adults will be a continuing need of a changing population. The Meals on Wheels organization believes that nourishing meals, delivered by volunteers, can help keep older adults healthier and out of hospitals or nursing homes longer. Not only do volunteers bring food, they also offer social contact to isolated seniors and by visiting older adults in their home can also do informal wellness checks.
By creating awareness about hunger among older adults and enhancing existing programs to better meet the needs of a growing senior population, groups like the AARP Foundation are working to create a food secure nation. To learn more about ways to help or find support for a senior in need, visit the foundation website by following this link. To find meals, volunteer or make a donation locally, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org. In Canada visit www.mealsonwheels.ca .