In­no­va­tive se­nior nu­tri­tion pro­gram rec­og­nized by state

Springfield Sun - - NEWS - By Montco SAAC For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

AM­BLER >> Montco SAAC (the Se­nior Adult Ac­tiv­i­ties Cen­ter of Mont­gomery County) was rec­og­nized by the state of Penn­syl­va­nia for putting nu­tri­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity at the fore­front of its se­nior nu­tri­tion pro­gram. Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Linda Collin and Di­rec­tor of Nu­tri­tion Ser­vices Whit­ney Lin­gle ac­cepted the state’s 2017 Best Prac­tice in Nu­tri­tion for Older Penn­syl­va­ni­ans Award from Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Ag­ing for the non­profit’s con­gre­gate lunch pro­gram. The award was pre­sented to Collins by Teresa Os­borne, Sec­re­tary of the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Ag­ing, at the Depart­ment of Ag­ing’s awards cer­e­mony on May 16 at the Har­ris­burg cam­pus of Penn State.

Montco SAAC has been tack­ling the is­sue of se­nior food in­se­cu­rity head on through host­ing the What A Waste food waste study con­ducted by the Na­tional Foun­da­tion to End Se­nior Hunger (NFESH). Be­gin­ning in July of 2016, the Am­bler Se­nior Cen­ter has taken part in this pro­gram to de­crease se­nior hunger through sus­tain­able food prac­tices in­clud­ing mea­sur­ing the amount and nu­tri­ents of food leftover from the Cen­ter’s daily on-site con­gre­gate lunch, and then re­cy­cling the un­eaten food into com­post.

The What A Waste study has acted as a con­duit for com­mu­nity out­reach for Montco SAAC. As­pects of the se­nior nu­tri­tion pro­gram, such as the in­stal­la­tion of raised gar­den­ing beds at the cen­ter, a lo­ca­tion for com­post­ing, and im­proved ac­cess to lo­cal fruits and veg­eta­bles, was made pos­si­ble only through com­mu­nal ef­fort. Or­ga­ni­za­tions, busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als in the re­gion in­clud­ing Whole Foods Mar­ket, Am­bler Mayor Jeanne Sorg, Ea­gle Scout Ja­cob John­ston with Am­bler Troop 3, lo­cal farm­ers, Trax Cafe and the Am­bler Farm­ers Mar­ket have all helped en­sure the pro­gram’s suc­cess. Ad­di­tion­ally, Montco SAAC’S con­tri­bu­tions to im­prov­ing se­nior nu­tri­tion have been hon­ored this year with grants of sup­port from the W.W. Smith Char­i­ta­ble Trust, The Char­ter Foun­da­tion, The Wawa Foun­da­tion, Con­i­celli Au­to­plex and the Leo & Peggy Pierce Fam­ily Foun­da­tion.

“It’s been a great op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate with com­mu­nity mem­bers and em­power those we serve to take an ac­tive role in their food sys­tem” said Lin­gle. “By giv­ing the se­niors own­er­ship and fos­ter­ing a lit­tle friendly com­pe­ti­tion, it’s en­abled us to have larger con­ver­sa­tions about bal­anced eat­ing, sus­tain­abil­ity and food ac­cess with mem­bers and vol­un­teers.”

Ge­orge B., a mem­ber at the Am­bler Se­nior Cen­ter, of­ten proudly shows off his plate be­fore dis­pos­ing of it; of­fer­ing proof that he is avoid­ing waste by eat­ing his veg­eta­bles. Along with fo­cus groups and ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in com­post­ing, there has been an in­crease in food re­lated con­ver­sa­tions in the cen­ter as a whole. By repli­cat­ing the waste re­duc­tion, in­creas­ing nu­tri­tion ed­u­ca­tion and of­fer­ing new en­gage­ment mea­sures in Montco SAAC’S Nor­ris­town Se­nior Cen­ter, Lin­gle hopes to de­crease se­nior hunger through­out Mont­gomery County. For more in­for­ma­tion about Montco SAAC and how you can fight se­nior hunger in Mont­gomery County, visit www.mont­cosaac.com.

About Montco SAAC (Se­nior Adult Ac­tiv­i­ties Cen­ter of Mont­gomery County)

Through recre­ational, ed­u­ca­tional, and so­cial pro­grams at two lo­ca­tions in Mont­gomery County, Montco SAAC’S se­nior cen­ters in­volve, en­rich, and em­power adults 50 years of age or bet­ter to cre­ate and main­tain in­de­pen­dence in all phases of life. The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Meals on Wheels pro­gram is a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of this be­lief, as our three pro­grams al­low over 350 home­bound se­niors in Mont­gomery county to re­main safely and com­fort­ably in the own homes. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.mont­cosaac.com.

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