We would like to thank Alliant Energy Foundation Members (#EnergyforGood) for their generous donation of $5,000 to be used for Emergency Shelf Stable Pantry Meals to help us address food insecurity among seniors and those with disabilities.
This project fills food insecurity gaps with home bound seniors and adults with disabilities. Providing emergency shelf stable pantry meals is an on-going initiative. Elderbridge’s service area contains 143 Alliant communities located within our 29 counties.
A 2017 report from Meals on Wheels America states, “Financial constraints are a primary factor that limits access to food.” The report also says “food insecure older adults are 50% more likely to develop a chronic disease. There is a ripple effect to hunger, it can affect a person’s ability to remain at home which burdens the individual, society and the community overall.”
Congregate meals site managers and Lifelong Links staff are contacted to coordinate food delivery. Each year we try to provide emergency meals to homebound seniors before severe winter weather arrives. For those adults with disabilities, meals are stored at each of the four Elderbridge office locations so they are readily available when a consumer comes in for help.
Our project meets the needs of those adults with disabilities with limited resources who are struggling with food insecurity while waiting for other assistance. It serves the homeless when there is no meal site or food bank nearby. It also serves home bound seniors who have no access to food when there is a weather issue preventing delivery or a meal site closure. Past experience with providing shelf-stable emergency meals indicate that when available, homebound and adults with disabilities experiencing financial crises appreciate the availability of these meals.
Elderbridge provides funding for 76 meal sites and ensures that the food meets established federal guidelines. 2016 data indicate that home delivered meal consumers have been declining since 2014. Factors are meal site closures or reduced days they serve meals. Emergency meals are needed more now with declining access in these areas. 33% of our home delivered meal consumers are 100% below the poverty level.