Michigan nets $7.5M to keep seniors fed during COVID-19 pandemic

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    Additional funding has been made available to ensure that seniors, who the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights as the at-risk population to be most affected by COVID-19, don’t go hungry during the outbreak in Michigan.   

    The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said the state received more than $7.5 million to fund meals for older adults after the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law in March.

    The law provided additional funding for the nutrition services programs authorized by the Older Americans Act of 1965.

    Under the law, more than $5 million will be allotted for home-delivered meals for seniors, and $2.5 million will go to congregate meals, a program that provides meals to seniors and their spouses at various community centers throughout the state.

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    However, the Area Agencies on Aging in Southeastern Michigan, a nonprofit dedicated to providing support for seniors, people with disabilities and caregivers, has temporarily suspended their congregate meal programs.

    The organization is still offering its Meals on Wheels service, as well as meal pickup in various locations. 

    The need for home-delivered and packaged meals has increased due to COVID-19. Many communities have closed meal sites and many caregivers aren’t able to help seniors due to concerns of spreading the disease.

    “COVID-19 is a threat to Michiganders, particularly older adults who are most vulnerable to complications related to the virus,” said Dr. Alexis Travis, senior deputy director of the Aging and Adult Services Agency DHHS. “Nutrition services are a lifeline for the nearly 100,000 older adults we serve through these programs.”

    Seniors who need assistance can request help through the DHHS coronavirus website or contact their local area agency on aging.

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak is a former Michigan Advance reporter. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12.