Grant will expand senior nutrition program

UCAAAD official received nearly $25,000 in grant funds to expand its senior nutrition program. Pictured are, from left, Holly Williams, UCAAAD assistant director; Misty Turner, UCHRA nutrition manager; Kelly Dishman, UCHRA director of field operations and nutrition; and Patty Ray, UCAAA director.

COOKEVILLE – Officials are improving/expanding a program that provides meals for seniors in need thanks to nearly $25,000 in grant funds.

The Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability (UCAAAD) was awarded $24,357 from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for its Aging Nutrition Program. The funds will be used to purchase equipment, including jumbo electric thermal delivery bags, a hot table and pan carriers. The additional equipment will ensure meals are delivered to seniors at a safe temperature and will allow the program to expand to meet the growing demand of seniors in need in the 14-county region.

UCAAAD, a division of the Upper Cumberland Development District, contracts with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) to provide home-delivered and congregate meals through the Aging Nutrition Program. In fiscal year 2016, 495 homebound clients received 89,497 home-delivered meals. In the same year, 82,600 congregate meals were served to 1,643 seniors from 17 meal site locations.

Both home-delivered and congregate meals provide more than nutrition for the seniors who receive them. In addition to home-delivered meals, seniors receive a well-check provided by the meal delivery provider. Congregate meal sites provide socialization for seniors benefiting their health and wellness.

UCHRA currently has more than 70 home-delivered meal routes across the Upper Cumberland. With the electric, jumbo, high efficiency thermal bags, each delivery vehicle will be equipped to maintain the proper food temperature to the most outlying areas of the district.

In addition to home-delivered meals, food is also transported to nutrition sites in bulk. The portable pan carriers will assist in maintaining food temperature through transport and until the meal is served.

With the purchase of a new hot table, the grant will also allow the AAAD to expand the congregate meal program to Smithville. Congregate meals will be served at the Smithville Senior Center four days per week. UCAAAD will be partnering with the Smithville Senior Center to provide free transportation vouchers for eligible seniors to and from the congregate nutrition site. By adding an additional congregate nutrition site, Smithville seniors will benefit from socialization and receive a nutritious meal. The goal is to serve a minimum of 25 seniors at the new site.