In March, ACL and our many partners set aside time to celebrate the National Senior Nutrition Program. For 49 years, the National Senior Nutrition Program has been a mainstay of the Older Americans Act programs that work together to help older adults stay healthy, active and independent. Since March of 1972, the program has provided millions of meals, created opportunities for older people to connect with others and stay engaged in the community, and has helped connect older adults to other health and wellness programs offered in the community.
This mission has always been crucial. But with more people than ever isolated in their homes due to COVID-19, the program has become a life saver. The Senior Nutrition Program has met the challenges caused by COVID-19 head-on, overcoming the difficulties created by physical distancing to not only persevere, but to also build capacity to meet the increased needs caused by the pandemic.
Staff and volunteers have stepped up and delivered on the nutrition mission of the Older Americans Act, The aging network has shown exceptional creativity and innovation, and forged new collaborations, to be able to continue to deliver services that meet all three components of the program’s mission. These innovations and partnerships have not only sustained the program through the crisis, but have strengthened it permanently.
The key to the program’s success is its committed network. They listen to the people they serve about their needs, share successes so others can replicate them, collaborate on solutions to shared problems, and ensure our nation’s leaders know what is happening in communities across the country.
ACL has developed the Senior Nutrition Program Celebration Toolkit to help all of us lift up and share the great work being done. The toolkit includes:
- Program Activity Guides – If you’re looking for fun, engaging activities that not only provide meals and nutrition information, but also help participants stay connected, these guides can help. Each detailed implementation guide includes instructions for preparation needed, how to participate, and supporting information. The materials also incorporate COVID-19 precautions.
- Tools to make it easy to share your work – Sharing the work you’re doing helps illustrate the impact of the program, both in your community and across the country. We’ve created eye-catching graphics that can be used on social media, websites and in other communications. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SeniorNutritionProgram on social media to make it easier for others in the network to find ideas they can incorporate.
- Help ACL share your work, too. Email this form along with a photo or two to email@example.com to give us what we need to highlight the work the network is doing.
And please don't miss the "Thursday at Three" webinar series. Join us for weekly webinars in March, scheduled for Thursdays at 3:00 pm EST. Sign up for ACL updates to receive information on how to register for each webinar.
- Thursday, March 4th at 3:00pm EST: Trifecta: Nutrition, Socialization, and Health and Well-Being
- Thursday, March 11th at 3:00pm EST: Trifecta – Part 1: Food Insecurity and Malnutrition
- Thursday, March 18th at 3:00pm EST: Trifecta Part 2: Socialization
- Thursday, March 25th at 3:00pm EST: Trifecta Part 3: Health and Well-Being
Finally, our Celebrate Our Senior Nutrition Program page on ACL.gov includes all of the above, plus infographics and other materials you can use to illustrate the impact of the program in your community.
As we celebrate the Senior Nutrition Program this month, I want to thank the network of nutrition services providers for their tireless commitment to the health and wellbeing of older Americans. The staff at ACL and I are honored to have the opportunity to work with you.