At Mission of Love Charities (MOLC), a senior outreach initiative began in January 2023 to further the services available to seniors in Prince George’s County. A grant from the National Council on Aging Senior SNAP Program was awarded to MOLC in December 2022 to help enhance services for seniors. Food insecurity is on the rise with the senior population. Many seniors live on a fixed incomes and cannot afford the increase in food prices with inflation. So, MOLC staff is reaching out to seniors by sponsoring events at senior living apartments in the area.
So far, there have been six events on Food Security at senior apartment complexes. At Pin Oaks Senior Living Apartments, 40 people attended the first event near the end of January. Out of these attendees, 24 applied for the Food Pantry and 7 applied for SNAP benefits. When MOLC staff returned to Pin Oaks to deliver food and meals, 15 more people signed up for the Food Pantry. This response shows the need is great, and that food insecurity is a reality for many seniors. MOLC gave seniors at Pin Oaks Senior Living Apartments a free boxed lunch from Panera Bread on February 8th. This gesture was well received.
This outreach initiative has been critical for many who do not have transportation to make it to the Food Pantry. One of the primary services MOLC offers the community is a Food Pantry that is open five days per week. During these outreach events, applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have been captured on site to aid in getting seniors the benefits they are entitled to receiving. Some may not even know they qualify for SNAP, so the events raise awareness and make the application process easy.
Applications for Food Pantry recipients are also taken on site, to enable better service and even delivery to some communities. Cheval Court Senior Living Apartments and Pin Oaks Senior Living Apartments have been adopted by MOLC because of this outreach. Realizing many seniors have no transportation to the Food Pantry, MOLC’s staff has set out to solve this issue. Seniors at the adopted communities are eligible for delivery from the Food Pantry the second Wednesday of every month. For the convenience of seniors, food items are packaged individually, so no separation of groceries is required.
To help seniors in the area, MOLC has designated Wednesday as Senior Day at the Food Pantry. Seniors are welcomed everyday at the Food Pantry, but Wednesday is specifically the day that seniors are honored. More and more, seniors are facing the problem of hunger and food insecurity. Currently, 6.8% of the senior group experiences food insecurity. These numbers were on the decline in 2020 but rose sharply in 2021 and 2022.
MOLC staff will be at even more communities in the area to show support for seniors. Upcoming events at senior communities are scheduled at Woodland Spring Senior Living Apartments, Trinity Terrace Senior Living Apartments and Victory Square Senior Living Apartments. MOLC is planning even more outreach events for seniors at other apartment complexes in the near future.
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