The Senior Hunger Action Team of the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions recently invited area elected officials to learn about the problem of senior hunger up close. These special guests visited different programs in our community focused on addressing this critical issue during a bus tour that started at the VNA Haggerty Center, continued to the North Texas Food Bank, and concluded at the Concord Senior Center.
In Dallas County more than 20,000 seniors live in poverty, putting them at high risk for food insecurity. Seniors on limited budgets often find it challenging to regularly obtain nutritious food. Not having adequate nutrition makes it harder for seniors to stay healthy or successfully manage chronic health conditions, imperiling their independence and quality of life, and straining the health care system.
Programs such as senior congregate meals, Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Meals on Wheels play a key role in providing access to healthy food for seniors.
Dallas City Council Members Casey Thomas II and Kevin Felder and representatives of State Senator Royce West, Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson had the opportunity to visit several locations to help them better understand how each of these programs serves the seniors in their districts. The Senior Source CEO Cortney Nicolato, North Texas Food Bank CEO Trisha Cunningham, Zach Thompson, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services and VNA President/CEO Katherine Krause pressed these policy makers to improve and increase access to these programs that help seniors. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a long time champion in the fight against senior hunger, helped rally support.
The Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions brings together organizations and individuals committed to empowering residents of Dallas County to gain equal access to healthy food. The Senior Hunger Action Team, one of five Coalition Action Teams, unites organizations concerned about senior hunger. The Action Team members collaborating on Get on the Bus! included the City of Dallas Senior Services Program, Dallas Area Agency on Aging, Dallas County Older Adult Services, the North Texas Food Bank, The Senior Source, the Texas Hunger Initiative and VNA Meals on Wheels.
Check out North Texas Food Bank’s Facebook page for video coverage of remarks by elected officials, organizational leaders and seniors at Concord Senior Center about the importance of senior nutrition programs, including the Concord Senior Center’s congregate meals program.
This piece was contributed to the blog by Wyonella Henderson-Greene, Coalition Coordinator.