Hunger is a serious threat facing millions of seniors in the United States and understanding it is a critical first step to developing strategies to eliminate.
But little research has been done in this area. That is why in 2007 the Meals On Wheels Association of America Foundation, with the generous underwriting from the Harrahâ€™s Foundation, commissioned a research study entitled The Causes, Consequences and Future of Senior Hunger in America.
Over 5 million seniorsâ€”11.4 percent of all seniorsâ€”experienced some form of food insecurity (i.e., were marginally food insecure). Of these, about 2.5 million were at-risk of hunger, and about 750,000 suffered from hunger due to financial constraints. America
– Some groups of seniors are more likely to be at-risk of hunger. Relative to their representation in the overall senior population, those with limited incomes, under age 70, African-Americans, Hispanics, never-married individuals, renters, and persons living in the South are all more likely to be at-risk of hunger.
– While certain groups of seniors are at greater-risk of hunger, hunger cuts across the income spectrum. For example, over 50% of all seniors who are at-risk of hunger have incomes above the poverty line. Likewise, it is present in all demographic groups. For example, over two-thirds of seniors at-risk of hunger are white.
– There are marked differences in the risk of hunger across family structure, especially for those seniors living alone, or those living with a grandchild. Those living alone are twice as likely to experience hunger compared to married seniors. One in five senior households with a grandchild (but no adult child) present is at-risk of hunger compared to about one in twenty households without a grandchild present.
– Seniors living in non-metropolitan areas are as likely to experience food insecurity as those living in metropolitan areas, suggesting that food insecurity cuts across the urban-rural continuum.
The above is an excerpt from The Causes, Consequences and Future of Senior Hunger in America; a groundbreaking study conducted by the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research and Iowa State University.
Meals On Wheels programs provide nutritious food, warm conversation and regular safety checks to hungry seniors in urban, suburban and rural communities all over the country.
They deliver meals to hungry seniors in your community…but they need your help. Volunteers keep local Meals On Wheels programs running â€“ and they keep hungry seniors fed. Reliable volunteers are critical for our Member programs.
What Does A Meals On Wheels Volunteer Look Like?
Meals On Wheels volunteers come in all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. Our volunteers are Brownies and Cub Scouts, high school and college students, professionals, retirees, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents â€“ and even a few great-great grandparents. Some like to go out and visit seniors; some like to work behind the scenes â€“ and all have generous hearts. In other words, Meals On Wheels volunteers look just like you.
How You Can Helpâ€¦
While the greatest need at Meals On Wheels programs is for folks who are willing to drive and deliver meals, programs have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for people with all kinds of skills and schedules. Meals On Wheels volunteers help with office tasks, prepare meals, organize fundraising events, and much more.
For more info please visit http://www.mowaa.org