Seniors First and Appleton Start Community Garden for Meals on Wheels
Seniors First, the largest 501(c)3 nonprofit social services organization catering to seniors in Orlando since 1966, partnered with Appleton Creative to start a community garden for Meals on Wheels.
Supporting Meals on Wheels
Fresh vegetables obtained from the garden will be used in salads for Meals on Wheels. To reduce emissions from transporting food far distances, this garden will offer another food pick-up site.
Nearly five million senior citizens currently face hunger in our country and this statistic continues to grow. Low-income seniors often opt out of medical care to face the decision between food and other necessities such as medication or utilities.
We believe no senior should have to choose between nutrition and healthcare, which is why Appleton contributes to Meals on Wheels, a program that improves food security and availability of healthy foods for senior citizens in Orange or Seminole County age 60 years and older.
Plants and Produce Galore
The garden will be full of over 150 plants such as tomatoes, collards, radishes, carrots and herbs. With changing seasons, this garden will be an ongoing project. To accommodate the diversity of plants, the garden will have five planters measured four feet by eight feet.
According to a study conducted by researchers Emily J. Nicklett and Andria R. Kadell, consumption of fruit and vegetables is linked to reduced risk of mortality among adults. Fruit and vegetable intake supports a longer life span and lowers the risk of disease-caused mortality.
Meals on Wheels delivery is offered Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Routes take roughly an hour and a half, so this program relies heavily on the diligence of volunteer delivery drivers.
Making a Difference
This garden arises at the perfect time with the increasing need in Central Florida. According to Seniors First, the population of citizens age 65 and older is estimated to double over the next 30 years. In the state of Florida, more than 3.3 million residents lack the ability to afford healthy food. To support the population of over 600,000 senior citizens, Seniors First aims “to enhance the quality of life of seniors by maintaining their independence and dignity.”
Based on previous programs fostered by Seniors First, this garden has the potential to make a far-reaching impact. The Seniors First Food Pantry opened in March 2019 has supported 542 distributions, which equals 8,130 pounds of food given to the community. This community garden, too, can serve the people of Orlando.
Wondering how you can help Seniors First? You can donate or start a community garden as well as seek various other services. Make sure to check out their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with their impact.
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