While Senior Nutrition Programs across the United States share problems common to all of them—such as a growing aging population and limited resources—Senior Nutrition Programs in rural areas face unique challenges such as time, distance, cost and labor.
In addition, seniors living in rural communities are more likely than others to “age in place.” The need for services is beginning to outpace the capacity to meet it. The combination of the time it takes to make deliveries, the distances to be traveled, the cost per meal, and size of the volunteer workforce involved in delivering or preparing meals is creating a situation where the need is quickly exceeding the financial and human resources that Senior Nutrition Programs serving rural seniors have. Although challenges themselves are evident, effective solutions for addressing these challenges are less clear.
The Meals On Wheels Association of America’s Rural Initiative will bring together a broad array of resources, including the best minds in the nonprofit, corporate, public and academic sectors, to focus on finding solutions to these problems. The anticipated outcome is the development and dissemination of a blueprint for the model rural Senior Nutrition Program that ensures both enhanced capacity and sustainability; the funding of pilot projects to test the model; and finally the dissemination of the model nationwide.
The need is great, and promises to grow even greater. Senior hunger is a disease. We have the cure today. You can help us deliver it. Please be generous. We all must work together “so no senior goes hungry.”®