|Updated: 10/22/2012 3:00 pm
||Published: 10/22/2012 2:59 pm
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma partnered 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 14th 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, breads and a sack of nonperishable food items that have been prepackaged to help meet the general nutritional needs outlined for the senior population.
This Senior Servings program has been in place at West Edison Plaza since August and will continue to offer this program every other Monday going forward. With the assistance of West Edison Plaza, 58 seniors have been identified and pre-registered for the Senior Servings program.
“The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is pleased to be partnering with AARP Oklahoma as the Senior Servings Program is now reaching the three sites selected for this 6-month pilot program,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “Reaching out to the senior population who may be struggling with hunger is an important goal and these initial distributions will give the Food Bank the necessary information as we work to expand the program throughout our service area.”
“We are especially pleased to partner with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma which is often a life line for older Oklahomans,” said AARP Oklahoma Volunteer Othella Martin.
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 state and county level across the nation, indicates 664,890 Oklahomans, or 17.7% of the state population is considered food insecure. In Tulsa County alone, more than 100,000 residents or 17.1% of the population is 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 and Nowata.