Yancey Meals on Wheels Program Receives $30,000 Grant

Yancey County Commissioners received some good news at their October meeting about their popular home-delivered meal program. Yancey County has been awarded a $30,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to support the county’s Meals on Wheels program. This grant is part of an initiative by Blue Cross to invest $1.2 million statewide over three years with the goal to eliminate hunger among the senior population.

In North Carolina, one in seven people struggle with hunger. Long-term food insecurity has been linked to negative health outcomes and increases in chronic diseases and poor performance in school. By investing in better access to healthy foods, these programs will increase the overall health of our state. The Meals on Wheels program was created to strengthen communication between nutrition programs and enhance knowledge of issues within the aging population of North Carolina.

In July, Yancey Commissioners took over the operation of the Senior Citizens Center and Meals on Wheels Program from a local nonprofit. Seeing the critical need in our community, commissioners immediately expanded the Meals on Wheels program from just three days to five days a week service. Additionally, commissioners eliminated the waiting list, adding dozens of seniors to the essential meal delivery program. Now, seniors begin receiving meals as soon as their eligibility has been determined by county staff. Volunteers deliver hundreds of meals five days a week. The hot, nutritious meal contains the recommended daily nutritional requirements and is an important stability component to allow many seniors to remain in their own home.

“Nutritious food is essential to good health,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “The problem is, too many people in our state don’t have access to the food they need and therefore go hungry. Increasing access to good food in our communities will go a long way in improving the health of people across North Carolina.”

Yancey County officials expect to utilize these new grant funds to enhance the existing Meals on Wheels program. “My fellow commissioners and I are pleased to accept this Blue Cross Blue Shield grant to improve and expand our valuable Meals on Wheels program for the seniors and homebound in Yancey County. We recognize the value of not only the hot meal, but also the social benefits of a visit from a friendly face to ensure that the client is safe and healthy,” stated Commission Chairman Johnny Riddle.

If you would like to apply to be enrolled in the Meals on Wheels Program or if you are interested in volunteering to deliver meals, please contact the Yancey County Senior Center at (828) 682-6011.

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