As we draw a close to the month of March and the YWCA March for Meals, Meals on Wheels campaign, I am sobered by the fact that too many seniors are still going hungry. AARP reports that nearly 10 million older adults in the US are at risk for hunger. Senior Hunger is not just an economic issue. It is also a problem of access and care. Many seniors who can afford to purchase their own food, lack the mobility to get and prepare their own meals and don’t have other support systems to help them. As the Development Director for the YWCA I am inspired to raise funds to help make a dent in this dire statistic. Last year, with the funds raised from individual donors, foundations and corporations the YWCA served over 105,000 meals in Glendale and El Mirage through our Meals on Wheels program and congregate meals programs. The YWCA is the only Meals on Wheels program in these two cities. We also sponsored over 1,200 rides through the Dial-a-Ride program for seniors. I am further inspired by the stories and testimonials we receive from our clients reporting that the meal they receive through Meals on Wheels not only provides nutrition to sustain them, but they share how they appreciate the warm greeting and smiles from our drivers. The simple fact of having a human connection with a YWCA Meals on Wheels driver each day is often the very thing that keeps them in their home.
I also work to raise funds for our “We Feed Four Feet” program which provides meals for senior clients’ pets, as many clients were sharing their own meals with their furry companions. There are so many health benefits to helping seniors keep their pet in their home. Research tells us pets help to lower blood pressure, provide companionship, reduce stress, increase social interaction and physical activity and help seniors learn. Amazing, right? The bond and benefits between a senior and their pet is priceless!
People often ask me, “How can you ask people for money?” It’s easy! How could you not for such a noble cause? I believe I am called to do this work, and profoundly blessed by it, as each gift given to the YWCA changes the lives of our most vulnerable seniors for the better, and truly is helping to make the world a better place. Help me to end senior hunger and to keep a senior and their pet in their home.