Our Encore Action Team on Hidden Hunger: Food Insecurities Among Our Elders have completed our arc of service learning projects to highten the awareness of senior hunger in our community and what efforts are being done to alleviate the situation. Over the last two months, we have attended the Portland Food Summit, worked the kitchen at Loaves & Fishes, served meals at Neighborhood House, and gleaned the Hollywood Farmers Market to provide fresh, organic to seniors at the Hollywood Senior Center. By far our favorite project was Bob’s Garden.
Bob’s Garden brought together a varied group of volunteers and community partners tackle the issues of senior nutrition and isolation. Elders in Action partnered with the Hollywood Senior Center , Multnomah County Aging & Disability Services, Portland Nursery, and Tokyo Electron Ltd. and planted a garden to grow fresh organic produce to be used in meals and food boxes at local senior centers this summer.
The site of the community garden is the front yard of “Bob”, an elder who loves to garden but is no longer physically able to do the intense work of urban farming. Bob is happy to provide local gardeners a place to utilize their skills while providing nutritious food alternatives to the elder population in Multnomah County. An important goal of Bob’s Garden is to promote intergenerational communities and to improve neighborhood socialization for older adults like Bob who want to live independently in their homes.
Today, over six million seniors nationwide face the threat of hunger; they are starving. The number is quickly growing. In Oregon, recent studies regarding our older adult population have found that we are 29th in the nation with over 5% of our seniors experiencing hunger. Helping to end hunger among older adults is the first priority of Elders in Action’s Encore Action Teams. This summer, Elders in Action and community partners will tackle the issues surrounding food insecurity for older adults in the Portland metro area with several other future projects.
For the schedule of Encore Action Team projects and to find out how you can help, call Mark Noonan at 503-235-5474, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Elders in Action website at www.eldersinaction.org.