|Updated: 9/14/2012 10:16 am
||Published: 9/14/2012 10:09 am
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is partnering with AARP Oklahoma to introduce Senior Servings, a new program specifically designed to meet the needs of seniors in Oklahoma who are struggling with hunger.
AARP Oklahoma’s most recent Food Insecurity Among Older Adults Report indicates Oklahoma ranks tenth in the nation in food insecurity for citizens age 60 and older.
The Food Bank’s Senior Servings program provides seniors healthy food options by offering fresh produce, bread and a sack of nonperishable food items that have been prepackaged to help meet the general nutritional needs outlined for the senior population.
Following Monday’s initial distributions in Osage and Nowata counties, the Food Bank will be providing the Senior Servings program beginning October 1st and running every other Monday going forward to both facilities.
After initially introducing the program in West Tulsa in August, the Food Bank is expanding the program to include the Osage County Pawhuska Nutrition Site at Cedar Ridge and the Nowata Senior Citizens Center. With the assistance of the Osage County Nutritional Site, at least 50 seniors have been identified and pre-registered for the Senior Servings program.
Monday’s distribution in Pawhuska at the Osage County Nutrition/Cedar Ridge Site located at 200 Atlantic Field Road will begin at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to take no more than 45 minutes to complete the distribution.
Several dignitaries have been invited to attend the inaugural distribution including Mayor Roger Taylor, county commissioners, city council members and representatives from INCOG, OK State Department of Health, Osage Nation Seniors, Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce and Osage County Housing Authority.
For its second Senior Servings food distribution on Monday, September 17th, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma will travel to Nowata for an afternoon distribution at the Nowata Senior Citizens Center, located at 238 N. Maple Street. The afternoon distribution will take place at 2:00 p.m. with approximately 50 residents pre-registered, on a first come first served basis by date to receive food through the Food Bank’s Senior Servings program. Nowata’s Mayor Jim Patton and town board members have been invited to the afternoon food distribution.
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma serves 24 counties in eastern Oklahoma including Osage and Nowata counties. In meeting the Food Bank’s mission to fight hunger and feed hope, two of the most vulnerable populations within the Food Bank’s service area include the elderly and children.
Older Americans are more susceptible to experiencing food insecurity as they have unique nutritional needs and may require special diets for medical conditions. In Oklahoma, 6.8% of seniors are food insecure which makes older Oklahomans 25% more likely to be food insecure than the national average, according to Feeding America.
From the most recent Hunger in America study conducted through Feeding America, 45.4% of households with seniors in eastern Oklahoma reported having to choose between food and medical care including medicine. Further from the same study, more than half (56%) of elderly clients aged 65+ are recurrent clients, meaning they have used a food pantry every month within the past year.
Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study depicting the face of hunger at the local level by state and county across the nation, indicates 664,890 Oklahomans, or 17.7% of the state population is considered food insecure. In Osage County alone, 8,310 residents or 17.6% of the population is considered food insecure.
Food insecurity in Nowata County is higher than the state’s average with 18.4% of its residents considered food insecure. In a county which last week experienced dangerously high winds, devastation and loss of life, nearly 2,000 of its residents are considered food insecure.
As part of Drive to End Hunger, AARP Oklahoma is partnering with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma on a six-month plan that has resulted in the launch of a senior nutrition program.
AARP has provided funding to pilot the Senior Servings program – the first dedicated program for seniors by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
The Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in eastern Oklahoma and the Senior Servings program will begin by distributing food in three food deserts, West Tulsa, Pawhuska an Nowata. Drive to End Hunger is AARP and AARP Foundation’s national effort to help the nearly 9 million older Americans who are facing hunger across the United States.