FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Elders at the Table Receives $150,000 Grant to Alleviate Senior Hunger in Central Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS (July 15, 2013) —The Elders at the Table (EAT) Coalition received a $150,000 grant from the Central Indiana Senior Fund, a CICF Fund, for its Alleviating Senior Hunger initiative. The grant will help EAT implement comprehensive and integrated strategies to increase low-income seniors’ knowledge of and access to nutritious food sources. This initiative will be administered through CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions, Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana and other EAT coalition members.
According to the Meals on Wheels Association of America, 8.3 million seniors face the threat of hunger every day in the United States. Reports show that in Indiana, 51 percent of households with seniors age 65 and older experience low food security and 14 percent experience very low food security, making Indiana the 12th highest state in senior food insecurity rankings.
“Seniors are often the forgotten generation,” said Kelli Tungate, chief operating officer for CICOA. “Malnutrition and food insecurity, when coupled with chronic health conditions and the medications used to treat those conditions, can be devastating to an aging adult, leading to increased hospitalizations, exacerbation of chronic health conditions and possibly unnecessary and costly nursing facility placement.”
According to EAT program coordinators, the initiative will:
- Provide seniors with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit and application assistance. Currently, only 31 percent of Indiana households with seniors are enrolled in SNAP, one of the lowest SNAP participation rates in the Midwest.
- Increase the number of food vouchers distributed to Central Indiana seniors by 50 percent and increase the number of food voucher distribution sites by at least 12.
- Develop a Proxy Shopper Program through Meals on Wheels that recruits and trains volunteers to shop for homebound seniors at food pantries and deliver their groceries.
- Create convenient, co-located senior friendly food pantries at congregate meal sites to help seniors who face difficulties obtaining food from traditional food pantries.
- Provide senior nutrition and food access education, through the Purdue Extension SNAP-Ed Program, on the EAT Coalition website and in print.
The Alleviating Senior Hunger initiative target adults age 60 and older who reside in Central Indiana who are living at 200 percent or below Federal Poverty Guidelines. The coalition anticipates that 100 percent of the seniors targeted will be at-risk for hunger and/or malnutrition due to limited mobility, isolation, disability, lack of transportation, chronic health conditions and income.
Barb Morris, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana said, “EAT members have spent the last year developing our collaboration strength and resources through the coalition, and it is because of this that we can now focus on providing sustainable new services to our area seniors.”
About Elders at the Table (EAT)
The EAT Coalition was created and funded in 2006 by the Indianapolis Retirement Home Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) Fund, as an initiative to strengthen the senior food provision network in Central Indiana. EAT is a coalition of nonprofit organizations dedicated to ensuring that every Central Indiana senior has access to nutritious meals on a daily basis. The coalition works together to maintain, enhance, and expand a network of providers that meet seniors’ basic food needs with a strong system of senior-serving meal and food providers in Central Indiana.
The EAT Coalition aims to be an integral part of delivering improved nutrition outcomes, therefore enabling seniors in Central Indiana to experience a higher quality of life in the 8-county Indianapolis metropolitan area. Approximately 6,000 seniors are currently served by the 20+ member EAT coalition, which includes CICOA, Meals on Wheels and the Purdue Extension Services-Marion County. For a complete list of member organizations, go to www.eatcoalition.org.