A Pilot Project to Address Senior Hunger
December 9, 2020
The global coronavirus has brought uncertainty and anxiety into people’s lives, workplaces, and neighborhoods, particularly for those who work to improve the health of our communities.
During this difficult time, many organizations across New York State are working tirelessly to keep people safe, especially the most vulnerable. In response, NYHealth is supporting statewide and local efforts to address emerging health care and public health needs in the wake of the pandemic. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative (SLCHI) a grant to address food insecurity among seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this grant, SLCHI helped replicate a program to address senior hunger to additional food pantries in St. Lawrence County. The Senior Squad program was originally developed at a single food pantry location to bring items to homebound seniors and those with disabilities living in high-rise residences. SLCHI partnered with the SLC Food Access Program Alliance and its member network of food access programs to spread Senior Squad throughout the county. Food deliveries were made to seniors who can’t access food pantries because of either a lack of transportation or concerns about COVID exposure. SLCHI disseminated a toolkit to the Alliance’s food pantry members to help them replicate the program.The toolkit was also shared with the Food Bank of Central New York to disseminate to the food pantries within the 11 counties it serves, greatly expanding the reach of the program.