Largest healthy eating program for older adults in country supports New York's efforts as first age-friendly state
The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), in partnership with area agencies on aging (AAAs) across the state, is highlighting New York’s nation-leading efforts in providing the highest quality meals to older adults as part of the national “March for Meals” campaign, held each year during National Nutrition Month.
“Good nutrition is a major component in maintaining health, autonomy and social connectivity for hundreds of thousands of meal participants annually,” New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said. “No service has been more important during COVID-19, where counties continue to meet the challenge of the significant increased demand for meals, which has led to millions more meals provided during this pandemic.”
“March for Meals” efforts also align with the successful Nourish New York initiative, a multiagency effort to reduce food insecurity and support food producers during this unprecedented time.
The state’s aging services network relies on a combination of paid staff and volunteers to prepare meals and deliver them on over 2,400 meal routes and at more than 800 congregate sites throughout the state. During the pandemic, congregate sites have been closed and switched to either home delivery or drive-up grab and go sites. Groceries have also been delivered to individuals staying at home to stop the spread of the virus. In addition to providing a nutritious meal, home-delivered-meal drivers serve as the eyes and ears for their communities, providing a health and safety check to at-risk older people. For many older adults, a home-delivered meal volunteer may be the only person they see from week to week.
NYSOFA and many AAAs are participating in “March for Meals” events to raise awareness about the nutritional needs of older adults and the importance of healthy meals, nutrition counseling, and education. They are also calling on residents to consider volunteering to deliver meals as well as giving to their local offices for the aging to meet the increases in demand. Counties participate in “March for Meals” activities throughout the month, and many hold events on March 22 each year to commemorate the date when the national nutrition program for adults 60 and older was established in 1972.
For more information:
Fact sheet – “New York State: Leading the Nation in Providing Nutrition for Older Adults”
The New York State Office for the Aging continuously works to help the state’s 4.6 million older adults be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them.