March 19, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Efforts to Deliver Millions of Meals to Older New Yorkers

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Members of the Governor's Administration Will Participate in 'March for Meals' Campaign to Highlight New York's Nation-Leading Nutrition Program

Largest Healthy Eating Program for Older Adults in the Country - Key to Governor's Prevention Agenda and Health Across all Policies Approach

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced statewide efforts to deliver high quality, nutritious meals to older New Yorkers as part of the national March for Meals campaign. New York is the nation's longstanding leader in providing the highest quality meals to older adults, and throughout this week, members of the Governor's administration will participate in events to continue the state's efforts to support healthy living during National Nutrition Month.

"New York's nutrition program is a model for the rest of the country, delivering 23 million meals every year to older adults in communities across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "The health of our residents has been a priority of this administration since day one, and I am proud this critical program continues to serve hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, as we work to establish a stronger, healthier Empire State for all."

Lieutenant Governor Hochul kicked off the week's events by serving lunch and meeting with meal recipients today at Westview Homes Senior Center in Albany.

"Through my work fighting for economic justice for women, it's a fact that one of the negative impacts of women earning less than men throughout their lifetimes is that as they reach older age, many of them slip into poverty," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "As someone who not long ago was a primary caregiver for an elderly Aunt who benefitted from the delivery of healthy meals, I know how important it is that New York State continues being a leader in health and wellness opportunities for residents and supporting critical nutrition services. The March for Meals initiative spotlights the importance of the work we continue to undertake in our state."

Every March, Meals on Wheels programs across the country raise awareness in their communities about the critical nutritional needs of older adults and the importance of healthy meals, and nutrition counseling and education. During National Nutrition Month, programs highlight the importance of improving health, the critical role volunteers play in preparing and delivering meals, and state agencies and community organizations partnering to deliver meals - all of which are key components of the Governor's efforts to make New York the healthiest state in the nation.

Governor Cuomo's commitment to the nutritional needs of older adults is unmatched - with 23 million meals served annually to 243,000 older adults across New York. In all, the state provides at least $53 million more meals for home delivered and community meals than any other state. New York also ranks first in the nation for the number of people receiving nutrition services and supports.

Members of Governor Cuomo's administration participating in the weeklong campaign include:

  • New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen will participate in home delivered meal routes in Franklin County on Monday, March 19.
  • New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel Roberts will serve lunch at the Dunbar Association in Syracuse, Onondaga County on Monday, March 19.
  • New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard Ball will serve lunch at the Sharon Springs Fire Department in Schoharie County on Wednesday, March 21.

New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, "Our state's nutrition program is the largest in the country and a major component in maintaining health, autonomy, and independence for its hundreds of thousands of participants annually. The program relies on volunteers to prepare meals and deliver them on over 2,400 meal routes and at more than 700 congregate sites throughout the state. Absent these nutritious meals and the wrap around services that accompany them, many more older adults would not be able to live at home."

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel Roberts said, "Governor Cuomo has prioritized policies and programs that help alleviate food insecurity among older New Yorkers and one of the main vehicles for that has been the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP helps more than 2.8 million New Yorkers, 1 in 5 of which are older adults, put food on their table. We will continue to work closely with our partners at the Office for the Aging to make sure older adults can easily access assistance provided by SNAP while making sure they have nutrition counseling and education to improve their health."

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball said, "Governor Cuomo has made a commitment to improve nutrition and fight hunger in communities across our State, and that includes providing greater access to healthier meal options for our seniors. I'm proud to say that the Department, through the Governor's New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy and programs like FreshConnect and the Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, are making a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers while helping our farmers also reach new consumers. I look forward to taking part in this month's campaign to help raise awareness about the importance of eating healthy, local foods and expand our reach to more families."

Senator Sue Serino, Chair of the New York State Senate Aging Committee said, "Senior hunger and isolation are two issues that too often go hand-in-hand and the March for Meals campaign plays a significant role in drawing critically important attention to these problems. Since being named Chair of the Senate's Aging Committee, I have had the opportunity to join our local Meals on Wheels affiliates in prepping and delivering meals, and I have seen first-hand just how important these services are to seniors throughout our area. I will continue to make securing funding for these services a priority and I thank the dedicated volunteers who help drive these important programs."

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the New York State Assembly Aging Committee said, "A focus on health and wellness is one reason why New York was designated as the first age-friendly state in the nation. Vital services like this help older residents to stay in their homes longer. I'd like to thank the Governor and his team for highlighting the importance of providing nutritious meals to New York's seniors."

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