Food insecurity is a problem that doesn’t discriminate. 15.7% of households in the United States do not have a consistent source of nutrition. Further research conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture conducted a research study that found that in particular, 21.3% of American seniors face some sort of food insecurity. That’s 13.5 million Americans. Food insecurity affects all populations differently. In instances of senior hunger, there is an increased risk of lower nutrient intake, diabetes, depression, and poor general health.
The Campus Kitchens Project encourages all schools in the network and those looking to join the network to tailor their programs to fit the need in their community. With the astounding number of seniors facing food insecurity, it is no surprise that several Campus Kitchens have chosen to target their efforts towards alleviating senior hunger, all in different ways. The Campus Kitchen at The University of Georgia is one of many addressing the problem head-on with their Lunch Buddy program. The Lunch Buddy is a program was created in collaboration with the Athens Community Council on Aging. Volunteers from the Campus Kitchen get paired with a homebound senior and each week they share a weekly lunchtime meal that comes from the recovered food by the Campus Kitchen.
Thousands of dollars are available to help schools develop and implement programming that targets older adults. To build on existing work and expand the efforts of Campus Kitchens addressing senior hunger, The Campus Kitchens Project has partnered with AARP to provide funding to existing programs to expand the work that they already do, and to programs that will soon join the network to help establish impactful programs that reach seniors in their communities.
Alex Peterson is the Program Design Specialist at The Campus Kitchens Project based in Washington, DC.