Seattle, WA – Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) is expanding its twice-a-week Senior Community Meal program to three days a week starting Friday, April 20, 2018. Launched in November 2013 at the Lake City Community Center, HIP’s Senior Meals program has provided low-cost, nutritious hot meals for seniors 60 and over every Monday and Wednesday. Due to an increased demand for services and growing need in north Seattle, a Friday meal will now be added.
The demand for this program has always been high. According to Sound Generations’ Community Dining Program, “HIP’s Senior Meal Program is the most attended (daily average) Community Dining Site, and still growing.” Indeed, attendance at Senior Meals has grown over 50 percent since the program was launched in 2013. In December of 2015, HIP expanded the program from one day to two days a week to keep up with public interest, and now with the addition of a third day there will be an expected participation rate of more than 250 meals served per week.
According to the 2015 American Community Survey, 9.3 percent of Seattle’s senior population lives below the Federal Poverty Level, an increase of nearly ten percent over the 2010 Census. Food insecurity is particularly detrimental to the senior population as poor nutrition increases the negative effects of chronic health conditions already common at this stage of life. According to Feeding America, the number of food insecure seniors is projected to increase by fifty percent by 2025 when the youngest of the Baby Boomer Generation reaches age 60. This demographic paired with recent cuts to federal programs that help seniors maintain self-sufficiency has left many local seniors struggling to meet their basic needs.
HIP’s Senior Meals program is committed to addressing this major gap in services for seniors in north Seattle. It is focused on serving low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and other seniors who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to cook healthy meals in their homes. Although the program is primarily geared towards seniors, HIP maintains an open-door policy so that no one in need is turned away. As a result, some of the diners who attend the community meal on a regular basis are adults under the age of sixty, many of whom are experiencing homelessness.
In addition to the nutritious meals, HIP’s partners, Sound Generations and Sea Mar Community Health Centers, provide a variety of activities, services, and resources to seniors in one place as a wraparound service. This partnership will continue as the program expands to the third day.
HIP is committed to providing nutritious food to populations that have difficulty accessing it. “Seniors are often overlooked in our culture and very few services exist for them,” says HIP’s Executive Director, Srijan Chakraborty. “We want to make sure seniors in our community have the opportunity to socialize with each other, access services they need, and enjoy a freshly prepared hot meal in a community with others. We are excited to expand to a third day so that more people can benefit from this program.“