The Senior Nutrition Department is relatively new to Hunger Free Colorado. As a young department, Senior Nutrition has quite a few programs and initiatives that comprise the campaign to end senior hunger in Colorado. Senior Nutrition projects currently include increasing SNAP outreach to the elderly, the creation of senior specific nutrition and SNAP literature, training programs for food pantries to meet senior nutrition needs and a grocery delivery program to low income seniors.
The grocery delivery pilot program will enable seniors to have greater access to healthful, fresh groceries by removing the necessity of a trip to the grocery store. While a trip to the grocery store remains to be hassle and chore to many of us, to a senior citizen it is more than that; a trip to the grocery store becomes a daunting and nearly impossible feat. Seniors must evaluate whether they have the physical strength and health to make a trip to the grocery store, to walk around for an extended duration of time, they must plan transportation to and from the grocery store and consider how they will carry their often heavy grocery bags home. Trips to the grocery store have become a large barrier in the pursuit of nutritious food for the elderly members of our community.
The grocery delivery program will enable seniors to have access to fresh, nutritious foods. Hunger Free Colorado has partnered with King Soopers for the program. Either monthly or bi-monthly, elderly clients will be provided assistance in using the King Soopers online ordering system at their place of residence. Once the order has been completed, clients will be provided with a delivery date and time. During designated delivery times clients will be provided with an array of educational classes and presentations while they wait for their groceries. Presentations ranging from registered dieticians on diabetic nutrition to presentations on how to make the most of SNAP dollars will enable an open dialogue about maintaining a nutritious lifestyle throughout the golden years. Clients will be able to pay for their groceries the day of delivery using cash, credit or debit cards or their Quest (SNAP) card.
The pilot sites that have been selected for grocery delivery are Casa Redonda De Vigil, Metro Village and Walsh Manor/Annex; all are low income senior living facilities. Many residents of these facilities have indicated through interest and pre-participation questionnaires that grocery delivery would be helpful in enabling access to food they otherwise would not have access to. Additionally, nearly all respondents have shown positive interest in educational presentations and classes on grocery delivery day.
Over the next few weeks the logistics will be with hugely supportive program partner King Soopers. Once all the details of the program have been hammered out, informational sessions will be held at the pilot sites and clients for the first round of ordering will be signed up. The tentative implementation date of the grocery delivery program is scheduled for July, 1st.
Erin Van Patten is Americorps VISTA: Anti Hunger and Opportunity Corps member with Hunger Free Colorado.