Nobody wants to be home alone for the holidays. As a volunteer driver for Lanakila Meals on Wheels, a few hours of time over the holiday season can make a big difference in the lives of Hawaii’s homebound seniors.
See Also: Drive to End Hunger
Lanakila Meals on Wheels provides home-delivered meals to elderly Hawaii residents who are unable to cook or shop for themselves. The holidays are an especially vulnerable time for seniors who rely on a delivered meal as their only source of nutrition. In some cases, drivers with Meals on Wheels are their only connection to the community.
Without volunteer drivers, Lanakila Meals on Wheels can’t keep up with the growing demand for their services. That means more Hawaii seniors will go without food over the holidays. “We have a wait list of 400 residents who’ve requested meal service that we’re not able to provide at current volunteer staffing and funding levels,” said Meals on Wheels Director Lyn Moku.
Hunger and isolation make the elderly more susceptible to prolonged illness. Food insecurity is associated with numerous health problems – including higher probability of being hospitalized. The more isolated seniors become, the harder it is to help them. According to research commissioned by AARP Foundation in 2011, Hawaii ranked 25th in the country in the number of adults age 50 and older who were food insecure (6.68 percent of older residents affected).
Drive to End Hunger is part of a nation-wide AARP Foundation assault on the hunger problem among Americans 50+. We’re taking steps to feed those are hungry now, while developing long-term, sustainable answers that address the root causes of hunger among those 50+.