According to the latest report on the State of Senior Hunger from Feeding America, Georgia is ranked 9th in the number of food insecure seniors in the nation, meaning 1 in 12 seniors do not know how they will purchase their next balanced meal. 

Jamie Carlington serves as the Administrator for Clayton County Senior Services Aging Division.

In our Congress today, there are impending budget cuts to food assistance for older adults. This is unacceptable. These cuts would be devastating to our ability to serve this valuable and vulnerable group of people. For some, it’s the only healthy meal they receive each day. It’s truly a lifeline for so many.  

Nearly 200,000 seniors in Georgia are food insecure; they face the threat of hunger and lack safe, adequate food to sustain health and quality of life. 

Patti Lyons is the President/CEO of Senior Citizens, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to help people age successfully. Senior Citizens, Inc. serves more than 10,000 seniors each year in Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty counties of Georgia.

Addressing and eliminating senior hunger is the primary goal for many excellent agencies and nonprofits throughout Georgia. After all, a nutritious meal means a whole lot more than what’s on the plate. Food insecure seniors tend to have lower nutrient intakes, lower diet quality, more chronic health conditions, poorer self-reported health status, lengthened hospital stays and greater hospital re-admissions, cost-related medication non-adherence, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.  

The Meals on Wheels Association of Georgia, its members, and similar groups who care about seniors are addressing senior hunger across Georgia’s 159 counties and mobilizing a movement to help end senior hunger in our state. We know firsthand the irreparable damage funding cuts would cause at a time when more older adults than ever are in desperate need of nutrition services.

Becky Kurtz is the Managing Director, Aging & Independence Services at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). She also serves as the Director of the Atlanta Area Agency on Aging.

Proposed cuts of this magnitude would warrant a significant reduction in funding for federal nutrition and aging services programs, like Meals on Wheels and other home-delivered meal programs. This is irresponsible and would be devastating to our nation’s most vulnerable older adults who rely on Meals on Wheels and similar meal delivery services as a vital lifeline. 

Seniors are our most valuable resources. They are the parents and grandparents who have raised us. They have fought in wars to protect us. They have cared for us and helped make this great nation what it is today. We urge legislators to vote no to budget cuts to food assistance for older adults. Let’s care for those who have cared for us.  

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