Second Annual Turkeypalooza Held

Hunger is a growing issue for older adults. Specifically, this population continues to increase and funding for programs that help fight food insecurity continues to decline.

Almost 9 million older adults in the United States are at risk for hunger.  Georgia is 8th in state rankings for older adults at risk of hunger. 9% of Georgia residents, aged 50 and older, are food insecure. Approximately one out of five (20.4%) Athens Clarke County (ACC) residents are food insecure, which is higher than both state and national statistics.

A recent coalition of several agencies and businesses within Athens called the Squash Senior Hunger (click here for more information) Coalition are addressing these needs on a local level.  The goal of this group is to ensure all ACCA clients are food secure with a commitment to serve all older adults within our community. Part of that commitment is getting a traditional Thanksgiving meal to some of these community members (click here for the SPOTTED gallery). For the second year in a row, Athens Community Council on Aging, the Campus Kitchen at UGA, several local businesses, and support from UGA’s Greek communities have formed a partnership to get Thanksgiving meals to area older adults and they refer to the event as Turkeypalooza and a palooza it is…

 “This is one of my most favorite days of the year,” stated Eve Anthony, Chief Operating Officer of Athens Community Council on Aging.  She went on to say, “It means so much to see businesses such as Earthfare and Caterpillar coming together with community volunteers to make this such a successful effort each year.  We have so much fun getting these meals out to those that need them and it is nice knowing they will have a meal for their family this year.  No senior should be hungry on any day of the year but especially on Thanksgiving.  We are doing what we can to prevent that from happening.”

Staff and volunteers from both ACCA and the Campus Kitchen at UGA gave out 150 hot meals to clients of ACCA including Meals on Wheels and Center for Active Living clients.  In addition to these hot meals, a bag of food and turkey were given to 150 clients so they could prepare a Thanksgiving meal for their families on Thanksgiving Day.  Included in the bags were a turkey, ingredients for Thanksgiving favorites such as stuffing and green bean casserole and recipe cards.  Caterpillar was so generous in donating sweetened condensed milk and potatoes for the bags while Earthfare of Athens donated 138 turkeys.  Donations from various other sources provided the funding for the additional 12 turkeys needed for the list.

In addition to ACCA and the Campus Kitchen at UGA, the coalition also includes partnerships with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Talmage Terrace, UGA Office of Service Learning, and the UGArden. In 2012, more than 10,000 meals were distributed and over 55,000 pounds of food to more than 375 clients of ACCA and community seniors. Campus Kitchen provided approximately 600 meals and 250 pounds of supplemental food each month to over 150 of ACCA clients and their families.  If you are interested in volunteering with this program, please click here or call Athens Community Council on Aging at 706-549-4850.

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