During National Nutrition Month, Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG) Emphasizes the Importance of Seniors and Food Insecurity

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Many seniors including SHAG residents live on fixed incomes and have physical limitations that restrict their access to food stores making the issue of food insecurity that much more prevalent in their lives.

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“Within SHAG, staff and residents are actively seeking ways to alleviate food insecurity in their communities,” explains Jay Woolford, Executive Director of SHAG.

Every March, National Nutrition Month® is celebrated to remind Americans about the importance of food and nutrition in our lives. This year’s message focuses on the importance of making informed food choices, developing sound eating practices, and committing to cutting back on food waste. A critical issue for staff and residents alike at SHAG is the growing concern surrounding food insecurity and its affects on older adults. Many seniors including SHAG residents live on fixed incomes and have physical limitations that restrict their access to food stores making the issue of food insecurity that much more prevalent in their lives.

The USDA defines food insecurity as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” It is estimated that one in ten over-40 households have serious food insecurity problems.

“Within SHAG, staff and residents are actively seeking ways to alleviate food insecurity in their communities,” explains Jay Woolford, Executive Director of SHAG. “We see friends helping friends when people work together along with area businesses, grocery stores and community groups to tackle the issue,” says Woolford. We have wonderful examples of how our residents come together to help each other at many of our SHAG communities.

At SHAG’s Tri-Court Community in Federal Way

  • A resident picks up bread donations from local area grocery stores for all three apartment buildings on his community’s campus. Every Monday afternoon, he organizes the bread in reusable plastic bins and brings 1-2 bins to each building’s community room for residents to share.
  • A team of residents make and deliver meals to residents with limited mobility or those who are homebound.
  • Social committee members plan monthly themed community potluck/fundraisers. The volunteers coordinate and utilize food pantry items in their recipes. They have a sign-up form for residents to bring items to share.

At SHAG’s Conservatory Place Community in Tacoma

  • Every Tuesday is dedicated to Stone Soup Day. Stone Soup is an old folk story in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food to make a meal that everyone enjoys. At Conservatory Place, residents and staff are encouraged to contribute food items throughout the week and on Tuesday, a big pot of soup is made for residents to share and enjoy.

At SHAG’s Lynnwood City Center Senior Living Community in Lynnwood

  • Having easy access to food centers is also important. Some residents need help getting to the local food bank because they either don’t drive or have a basket on wheels to make the walk. The Community Manager and Resident Service Coordinator decided to set up a food pantry for those residents in need, and have the pantry sustained by the residents themselves. To get the project off the ground, a food drive was organized with the help of local area high school students. On Fridays, residents leave canned food donations outside their doors to contribute to the pantry. Participation has been terrific.

At SHAG’s Boardwalk Community in Olympia

  • Located just down the street from Boardwalk is the historic and popular Olympia Farmers Market. During the months the market is open, the staff at Boardwalk work with the organizers of the Farmers Market to gather and distribute items to residents donated by the vendors at the market. The fruits, vegetables, fresh baked good and other items provide a much-needed extension and variety of food for many residents.

Moving forward, SHAG will continue to encourage and support efforts to help address food insecurity among its residents and the greater community in which it operates.

About SHAG
Senior Housing Assistance Group ("SHAG") is a private Washington nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing quality, affordable independent living opportunities for older adults. In addition to promoting sustainable apartment lifestyles for older adults, SHAG's mission is to enhance and enrich residents’ lives and support their ability to live and remain independent as they age. Formed in 1988, SHAG has become the largest operator of affordable senior living communities in the State of Washington, with over 250 employees supporting twenty-eight (28) communities serving more than 5,500 residents throughout the Puget Sound region. For more information visit https://www.housing4seniors.com.

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Stacia Kirby
Kirby Communications
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