BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -From lack of transportation and income to the ability to cook and care for themselves, Senior citizens have their own particular set of challenges when it comes to food insecurity and nutrition. The Brazos Valley Food Bank aims to help eliminate these challenges by providing senior bags.
Senior bags were designed to promote healthier food choices. The bags are filled with nutritional items such as nutrition shakes and items that contain little to no sugar and sodium such as soups and vegetables. The items in the senior bags are also designed to have very minimal prep that seniors can easily fix for themselves.
When it comes to identifying and meeting the needs of seniors in the Brazos Valley it takes an army of agencies and volunteers. Shannon Avila, program director for the Brazos Valley Food Bank says partnering with other agencies is crucial because they already know which seniors might need assistance.
“We partner with them to provide the senior bags to those partners and those partners get them out to seniors that they know need extra food help,” said Avila.
Meals on Wheels is just one of the many agencies the Brazos Valley Food Banks partners with to meet the nutritional needs of our seniors. They cook, package, and deliver complete meals to over 800 seniors in the Brazos Valley on a daily basis. Ken Barnes, program director for Meals on Wheels says it takes close to 100 volunteers to ensure that the most at-risk seniors in the Brazos Valley have the nourishment they need. He says the need for services like Meals on Wheels grows each year.
“The more you get out there you find a lot of people that don’t have transportation or ways to get to the store or even just to make a meal for them would be difficult at times,” said Barnes.
Most importantly Barnes says the program is more than just meals, it a lifeline for some seniors, especially during this pandemic. He says the delivery driver is sometimes the only person that the senior may see on a daily basis and can determine if more assistance is needed such as bringing in the mail or calling for more assistance if needed.
“You go out and you’re delivering these meals, there are so many of those people that don’t get to see anybody else on a daily basis. So, it also gives us that chance to make contact with the people who otherwise wouldn’t be seeing anybody at all,” said Barnes.
Pam Engler has delivered meals for more than 40 years. She says this was her way to give back to those in the community that need the most help.
“Well, I do it because there’s such a need in our community to make sure that our older citizens have enough to eat and good food good quality food. And besides that, I have met some very wonderful people by doing this,” said Engler.
Wednesday, Dec.2, 2020, you can help our friends and neighbors in need this holiday by donating to the 25th Annual Food for Families Food Drive. Things will look a little different this year, but no matter how you give, the need has never been greater. You can donate online all day at KBTX.com as local businesses match your donations. We also have smaller donation sites this year where you can donate food while socially distanced. To find out more on how you can help click here.
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