No food left behind: senior growers ending senior hunger
Gary Oppenheimer, Founder, AmpleHarvest.org, CNN Hero/TEDx Presenter
According to a 2009 study by the National Gardening Association, more than 43 million Americans grow fruit, herbs and vegetables in home gardens – and that number is increasing. Equally important, 68% of them are 45 years or older. While some gardeners compost the excess produce, many others simply let it rot in the garden or worse, throw it into the trash, adding to the waste stream and causing the release of methane gas as it decomposes–contributing to climate change.
According to 2009 statistics from the USDA, 49 million Americans are food insecure – a fancy way of saying people either do not have enough food or they are at real risk of not having enough food for their families.
In May 2009, a nationwide program called the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign was created to enable gardeners who grow fruit, vegetables, herbs or nuts to share their excess harvest with a local food pantry – easily found at www.AmpleHarvest.org or with the free AmpleHarvest iPhone and Android apps. READ MORE
Claire Shimabukuro, Executive Director, Hawai’i Meals on Wheels
A few years ago I sat in an audience listening to Enid Borden deliver a speech. I cannot remember the theme of the speech, what she was wearing, the date, the place, or the time. All I remember is this sentence: “Food insecurity is just another term for hunger.”
Food insecurity. Fiscal cliff. Collateral damage. Euphemisms for hunger, no money, murdered innocent bystanders. While descriptive terms often have a poetic beauty and are of importance for communication and clarity, one cannot help but think, whether intended or not, they sometimes serve to distance us from grim realities. READ MORE
Enlisting first responders to reach hungry seniors in rural Vermont
Faye Conte, 3SquaresVT Advocate of Hunger Free Vermont
Above: Lamoille County Hunger Council
With a population of about 625,000, and fewer than 43,000 living in our largest city, most Vermonters are spread out throughout the small towns, villages, and hamlets that make up our state (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). The rural nature of Vermont is one of its great draws, but it can also be a major barrier for low-income seniors, especially in the dead of winter. They may not be able to afford a reliable car or gas, or may no longer be able to drive, leading to limited mobility (Kerschner, 2006). Public transportation is rarely an option; without major metropolitan areas, simply getting to a bus stop often requires a personal vehicle (Kerschner, 2006). This is both socially isolating and potentially dangerous, as it makes getting to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, the pharmacy, and community events more difficult (Kerschner, 2006). READ MORE
The SAGE Center: addressing nutritional challenges of older LGBT New Yorkers
Above left: Sarah Savino, Program Manager, The SAGE Center
Above right: Al Rosenberg Food Service Coordinator, The SAGE Center
One of the best times of day at The SAGE Center, the nation’s first full-time senior center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, is dinner time. Our Great Room fills up each weeknight with laughter and conversation from the LGBT older people who visit our center, as staff and volunteers set up the evening’s meal.
Housed in a beautifully renovated, loft-like space with views over New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, The SAGE Center is a wonderful space for LGBT older people to gather. The early dinner is at the core of The SAGE Center Healthy Food Program, our nutritional plan designed to meet the specific needs of LGBT elders. The SAGE Center, which began serving meals in January 2012, offers an outstanding program of classes and events for a community with a range of needs – from those seeking fun and companionship in a culturally diverse setting, to those who face severe economic and nutritional challenges. The SAGE Center Healthy Food Program is designed to welcome them all. READ MORE