“Don’t Empty My Plate” Captures Seniors Stories of Hunger for Meals on Wheels

Walnut Creek, California (EastBayDaily) — Local Seniors Say “Don’t Empty My Plate” – End Sequestration

Recently 421 seniors in Contra Costa County sent a message to Washington D.C., expressing their need for Meals on Wheels and C.C. Café programs recently affected by reduced funding due to federal cuts to senior nutrition programs.

“’Don’t Empty My Plate’ is the plea of hundreds of home-bound, low-income, high-risk, and isolated seniors across Contra Costa County,” said Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services Executive Director Elaine Clark. “We don’t have time to wait. Every cut in federal dollars means we need to raise more funds locally, just to keep up with the current need. And the need is growing every day.”

The local nonprofit, Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services, joined the National Association of Nutrition & Aging Services Programs (NANASP) campaign to exempt current and future cuts to senior nutrition programs caused by federal sequestration. Funding for programs across the country has been reduced, and these cuts may become even more drastic and affect an even larger number of seniors who rely on nutrition programs for both their daily meals and for socialization.

Writing on empty paper plates, the local seniors said: “If it wasn't for Meals on Wheels I would starve;” “I beg you; please don't cut funding for such a life-saving cause;” “Once a day a knock at my door means I eat for that day;” and “I am so grateful for the volunteer drivers, sometimes it is the only human contact I have for days.”

On Thursday, August 1, Meals on Wheels & Senior Outreach Services will host an event displaying many of the plates at Lucky Supermarket, 155 Crescent Plaza in Pleasant Hill, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is encouraged to join their voices with local seniors and sign a paper plate to be sent to congress as part of the "Don't Empty My Plate" campaign. In addition, Meals on Wheels & Senior Outreach Services will pass out S.H.A.R.E.S. cards for patrons to use when grocery shopping at any Lucky or SaveMart supermarkets. When swiped at checkout, 3% of each total charge will be automatically donated to Meals on Wheels – with no additional out of pocket expense.

In Contra Costa County, Meals on Wheels & Senior Outreach Services serves daily meals to approximately 1,000 seniors through their Meals on Wheels and C.C. Café programs. Federal cuts since May mean that the addition of new clients to these programs has been greatly reduced, and current clients are in danger of losing the support they so rely on. Waiting lists continue to grow, and so far 200 clients have been dropped to make room for incoming high risk seniors and to help ease the financial burden these cuts have caused.

Meals on Wheels & Senior Outreach Services has been supporting seniors throughout Contra Costa County since 1968. The non-profit organization provides an umbrella of six programs to help seniors live independently and with dignity. For more information or to make a donation, visit http://www.mowsos.org.


Elaine Clark
Meals On Wheels & Senior Outreach Services

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