UPPER CUMBERLAND – More than 100 low income, homebound seniors across the Upper Cumberland enjoyed Thanksgiving meals – and 150 more will receive special Christmas food items – thanks to a community-wide effort to help prevent food insecurity in the region’s elder population.
The Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD) partnered with Cookeville Golden Corral, Cookeville Sam’s Club and StoneCom stations Rock 93.7 and 95.9 for the “Rocksgiving” breakfast fundraiser in November. All proceeds are dedicated to helping feed local seniors in need. Hundreds attended, and the event raised $5,855, including a $1,500 match from Sam’s Club.
In addition to the fundraiser, several other community partners made canned and boxed food donations, including Peachtree Learning Center’s home school class and teachers Catrina Howell and Adonna Pryor; HB Specialty Foods; and Coke via its community program Coke Cares.
“We are incredibly thankful for the support of local businesses, students, individuals and community partners who went above and beyond to make this holiday season special for our local seniors,” said Holly Williams, AAAD assistant director. “Each food bag will provide enough food for multiple meals this holiday season.”
A total of 125 seniors received Thanksgiving food bags filled with ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potato mix, gravy mix, stuffing mix, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, pancake mix and fried apples. Food bags were delivered by AAAD staff to seniors across the 14-county region prior to Thanksgiving. Donations will also provide food bags filled with special holiday items such as fruit cake, summer sausage, cheese, salmon, mixed nuts and many other items to 150 seniors for Christmas.
The holiday food drive was all in an effort to help fight food insecurity and hunger in the senior population, an issue that affects thousands of Tennesseans. According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, the Volunteer State ranks second in the nation for food insecurity among seniors. Seniors are sometimes forced to choose between paying for groceries and buying medicine; unique medical or mobility challenges also put them at a greater risk of hunger. Without proper nutrition, seniors can be at risk for developing chronic health conditions.
AAAD, a division of the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD), connects older adults and adults with disabilities in the region with services and resources to improve their quality of life. For more information on AAAD, visit www.ucdd.org or facebook.com/UCDDconnect.