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No Senior Should Go Hungry, Period!

Beverly Hougland, CEO Osceola Council on Aging

Letter to the Editor 

Envision a Community where no one must decide between paying the utility bill and putting high quality food on the dinner table for their family.

The Osceola Council on Aging wants our community to realize that we must make a change, not just in what we do ourselves, but in how we think about those in-need around us, especially the vulnerable elderly.

A 2016 National Foundation to End Senior Hunger report indicates that one in six older adults face the “Threat of Hunger.”  Food insecure, low-income elderly face continual spending decisions and tradeoffs.  Common strategies include buying the cheapest food even if it is unhealthy, watering down food or drink, selling or pawning personal property and trying to grow food at home.  Despite these attempts to cope the most common strategy for those households with a family member over age 75 was a tradeoff between medications and food.

Nutrition programs like the Meals on Wheels and Senior Dining provide nutritious balanced meals for those seniors over the age of 60 that are in greatest need.  Meals are delivered to homebound elderly by community volunteers that donate their time and mileage to make a difference in the lives of the elderly.  The Osceola Council on Aging has served Meals on Wheels to over 304 unduplicated clients in 2017, and 169 of those clients are over the age of 90.

At this critical juncture, when both the need and demand for nutritious meals are substantial and growing as funding fails to keep pace, Congress must make the needs of our most vulnerable and isolated seniors a higher priority.  Now is the time to call on Congress to Save Lunch for our nation’s seniors by protecting and increasing federal funding for the Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs and putting a balanced budget in place.

Beverly Hougland, CEO Osceola Council on Aging

700 Generation Point, Kissimmee, FL 34744