M4A fights senior hunger

Published 6:27 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging provides many services designed to enhance the lives of older individuals and people with disabilities, empower them to self-advocate, live independently and enjoy the highest quality of life.

The nutrition program at M4A provides hot meals daily to 25 senior centers in M4A’s five-county area (Blount, Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties), as well as meals to homebound individuals.

“We serve about 3,000 congregate meals (those eating at senior centers) and 250 home-delivered meals every week,” said Nutrition Coordinator Laura King.

M4A’s nutrition program is a lifesaver to many Alabama seniors facing hunger in this dire economy.

A recent study by the Meals on Wheels Research Foundation placed Alabama at No. 6 among the 10 states with the highest percentage of those 60 and older facing the threat of hunger.

With rumors of further budget cuts, many seniors will be left out without lifelines like the M4A nutrition program.

“The homebound meal currently has over 400 individuals on the waiting list,” King said. “We fear that these individuals have to go without food every day.”

Senior hunger is a serious problem because it can lead to many health problems. Often, seniors have to choose between their medication and food.

Additionally, hunger can be a contributing factor to a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes.

“We are trying to be creative in order to feed as many people as possible with such limited resources,” said M4A Executive Director Carolyn Fortner. “Instead of relying on government for resources, we are looking at community-based partnerships and voluntary contributions.”