The Heritage Area Agency on Aging is excited to announce the return of the Fill the Plate telethon to bring greater support and awareness for the Senior Nutrition Home Delivered and Congregate Meal Program. The Fill the Plate telethon will be held on Sunday, December 8, 2013 on the KCRG network of television stations. This effort was a great success in 2012, reaching over 75,000 viewers and generating over $140,000 to help provide nutritious meals to older adults throughout East Central Iowa. In 2013, the Fill the Plate effort will again have two primary goals: raise funds to help mitigate a continued shortfall in funding and increase awareness and local engagement for this critical program now and into the future. All funds raised will go directly to the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Senior Home Delivered and Congregate Meal Program.
Last year, in partnership with local providers, the Heritage Area Agency on Aging provided over 388,000 home delivered and congregate meals to low income, frail seniors in East Central Iowa in Linn, Johnson, Benton, Cedar, Jones, Johnson, Iowa, and Washington counties. Additionally, there was an 8% increase in the number of new participants to this vital program. Unfortunately, funding for these services continues to not keep pace with the growing need. The Heritage Agency was not able to fund 54,000 meals for the current fiscal year, due to a serious shortfall of available funding.
According to a recent study conducted in collaboration with the Meals on Wheels Association of America, Rutgers University, and The Heritage Agency, 14.4% of home delivered meal participants in East Central Iowa have eaten less than the felt they should in the last 30 days because there was not enough money to buy food. Additionally, 55% of current home delivered meal participants are high nutritional risk and 21% cannot prepare meals by themselves. A strong nutrition program to support seniors in our region is critical for seniors to be able to retain their health and to support their ability to stay in their own homes and avoid institutional placement.
For nearly 40 years, the Heritage Area Agency on Aging has helped fund nutritionally balanced meals for seniors either at home or in a congregate setting, targeting low income, rural, frail seniors to receive meals. Individuals age 60 and older now make up 20% of Iowa’s population. Despite a growing aging population, funding for the program has not kept pace with the needs of seniors and with increasing food and transportation costs, Heritage is no longer able to sustain the number of meals it helps fund in the region.
Please join the Heritage Area Agency on Aging and help support the Heritage Regional Senior Home Delivered and Congregate Meal Program. Your gift today will make a real difference in the lives of low income, frail seniors in your community! To contact the Heritage Area Agency on Aging or for information on how to support the Heritage Regional Senior Home Delivered and Congregate Meal Program Nutrition Program, please call 1.800.332.3934 or email the Heritage Area Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org.