Poverty is linked to poor nutrition and chronic disease due to a lack of access to healthy, affordable food. According to a recent report by the Rockefeller Foundation, a private charity that funds medical and agricultural research, health impacts are the biggest hidden cost of the food system. More than $1 trillion per year in health-related costs are paid by Americans with an estimated $604 billion of that attributable to diseases, such as hypertension, cancer, and diabetes. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that 27% of the US population aged 65 and older has diabetes and the prevalence of co-occurring diabetes and hypertension is 17%. The CDC goes on to state that the notable difference in co-occurring diabetes and hypertension is representative of racial and economic disparity.
Over 93% of LCSC’s senior clients fall into HUD’s Extremely Low-income category ($17,500 per year for a household of one). Most of the seniors in subsidized buildings who participate in LCSC’s food delivery receive only $794 in Social Security Income/month. With the cost of medication, transportation, and rent, there is little left to spend on making healthy food choices.
We have offered door-to-door food delivery to seniors in five subsidized buildings in Lakewood and Rocky River for 11 years and are now serving 500 individuals each month. Since moving to 100% home delivery, we have added an additional 250 independent seniors, bringing our total seniors served to 750. Seniors now comprise 28.6% of our served population up 5% in the last four years. LCSC is allocated County funds that must be spent at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, but much of the shelf-stable product is not senior-friendly or healthy, especially for seniors with diabetes and hypertension.
LCSC will add a nutritionist to our staff to provide additional activities including local grocery store guided tours that help seniors identify healthy and easy-to-prepare food choices; nutritional coaching by phone/on-site at the new COVE Community Center and adaptive recipes that are culturally relevant and for small households.
Outcomes we are aiming for include empowering seniors to take control of their health by providing information on topics including portion control, healthy eating habits, and hands-on food prep; empowering clients battling a chronic disease to better manage their health by learning the connection between food choices and improved quality of life and decreasing food insecurity for low-income individuals.
There will be interactive cooking demos included – all provided by some of Lakewood’s most popular chefs and restaurants.
Matt Fish, chef/owner of Melt Bar and Grilled, is a valued LCSC supporter and a well-known Lakewood personality. Matt has recruited Lakewood chefs for monthly healthy cooking demos for seniors, selecting chefs who represent the racial and ethnic mix of our population.
These sessions will be recorded, and COX Communications will broadcast them for free on their community channel, greatly increasing the number of viewers from throughout the region. A schedule of our cooking demos will be posted to this page and will be posted to this page and will be announced on our Facebook page.
Check back soon!!
We are grateful to Three Arches Foundation for their support!Learn More