Meals On Wheels Association of Georgia meet at ACCA
Athens Community Council on Aging was excited to be hosting the first Meals On Wheels of Georgia (MOWAG) conference September 21 and 22, 2011. Georgia ranks sixth in the nation for prevalence of food-insecurity in older adults. However, Athens-Clarke County leads the state and nation in poverty according to the most recent data released from the U.S. Census Bureau naming it the poorest county in a metro area in the United States. In 2009, Athens-Clarke County’s poverty rate is estimated to have been at 39%.
Heather Sweaney, Program Manager of Home Delivered Meals at ACCA said “in August of 2011, we served 7230 meals to hungry citizens in Clarke and Barrow counties who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten nutritious meals to eat. The scariest part of that number is that we have 89 individuals on the waiting list to eat.” This trend is not isolated to this area. “With recent cuts to state and local funding for senior programs, Meals on Wheels programs across the state are growing and their waiting lists are getting longer and longer”, stated Jeffrey Smythe, MOWAG’s president. He went on to say that the MOWAG was established to “set a framework for a unified platform across Georgia for meal providers.”
Meals on Wheels programs from across the state will convene in Athens this week to combat the hunger that faces individuals across Georgia. The conference kicks off at noon on Wednesday at ACCA. The keynote speaker on Wednesday night, September 21 will be Enid Borden, President and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America. “It is a huge honor to have Enid coming to speak at our very first conference. She has been such an integral part of the Meals On Wheels Association of America’s growth and her leadership has brought the problem of ending senior hunger to light in recent years,” stated Sarah McKinney, secretary of MOWAG and Director of Volunteer Services at ACCA.