SeniorServ formally announced that it has become Meals on Wheels Orange County to raise much-needed awareness around the need to address hunger among at-risk older adults in the County. The announcement was made at its 9th Annual Senior Care Hero Awards Gala and Fundraiser on Saturday night to more than 600 caring supporters and advocates for older adults.
Meals on Wheels Orange County is the largest nonprofit provider of nutrition and supportive services for the County’s at-risk older adults. For more than 50 years, the organization has been committed to erasing hunger and loneliness for at-risk older adults through nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks, and keeping families together through day services.
“Becoming Meals on Wheels Orange County is a natural extension of thecore part of our work in the community: serving nearly 1 million meals to more than 10,000 older adults each year,” said Holly Hagler, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels Orange County. “We wanted to increase the public’s awareness of our cause, nourishing at-risk older adults, by more closely aligning ourselves with the highly recognized brand of our national association, Meals on Wheels America.” As part of this alignment, Hagler also serves as a board member of the association and the affiliated state association, Meals on Wheels California.
Studies show that one in four low-income older adults (aged 60+) in Orange County struggles with hunger, and half of all diseases in older Americans is due to lack of nutrition. “As an organization, we work to reduce the number of people who are affected by malnutrition by providing nutritious meals each year to homebound older adults and through senior centers,” added Hagler. “Industry research indicates that malnutrition in older adults costs the U.S. more than $51 billion each year, and that drain on the healthcare system certainly affects Orange County.”
According to Hagler, Meals on Wheels Orange County addresses another health crisis for older adults: loneliness.Research indicates that more than a quarter of them are at greater risk of death due to loneliness. “The impact on older adults can be devastating; being lonely can have as much effect on the health of an older adult as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” continued Hagler. “The friendly volunteers who deliver our meals to our clients in their homes may be the only personal connection with another human being they have all day.”
This article was released by Meals on Wheels Orange County.