Nutrition services

NYS Office for the Aging Celebrates 50 Years of Providing Nutrition Services to Older Adults

This National Nutrition Month in March 2022, NYSOFA marks the 50th anniversary of the National Nutrition Program for Seniors (NPE), established in 1972. The national program established grants to provide congregate, home-delivered meals to people older people who need nutritional support. To date, NYSOFA and the network of Aging Services professionals and volunteers have provided more than one billion meals to more than 10 million seniors in New York City. To find out more, visit the site here.

NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said: “NYSOFA is proud of the vital work being done by local aging agencies and community partners to achieve this important milestone in meeting the nutritional needs of older adults. New York’s nutrition program has been a lifeline for millions of older adults since its inception and especially during the last two years of the pandemic. During this time, the demand for food delivery – and the network’s response to that demand – has increased dramatically to meet the essential nutritional needs of New York City’s seniors.

“The importance to public health of accessible and nutritious food cannot be overstated – and New York is delivering on that promise,” Olsen added. “Local meal programs and the nutrition they provide fight hunger, help manage chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, prevent the risk of falls, provide nutrition counseling and education, address many other physical and mental health needs and meet the highest dietary standards required by federal law.

“Each meal delivered to someone’s home or shared at a community table is also a chance to make a connection, overcome social isolation, discover other senior support services at meal sites or to get help for a neighbor who may have additional difficulties,” he added.

Senator Rachel May, chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Aging, said“The value of the nutritional assistance NYSOFA has provided to countless New Yorkers over the past 50 years can never truly be quantified. The staff and volunteers who deliver these meals don’t just provide food; they provide a connection to help combat loneliness and social isolation, as well as a lifeline in times of crisis. I want to congratulate NYSOFA on the 50th anniversary of the National Nutrition Program for Seniors (NPE) and for all of their hard work in providing for the needs of seniors throughout our state.

Assemblyman Ron Kim, Chairman of the New York State Assembly Committee on Aging, noted“This month will mark the 50th anniversary of a vital program our government created to feed and nurture America’s senior citizens – the National Nutrition Program for Seniors. Through this program, the Office of the New York State for Aging has delivered meals and met the nutritional needs of hundreds of thousands of seniors every year since – our nation’s largest state program.We are proud of this milestone in recognition by our society of the dignity and worth of aging New Yorkers, and I look forward to building on its legacy by continuing to empower older adults while protecting and expanding their rights.

Alison Barkoff, senior assistant administrator for the Federal Administration for Community Living (ACL), said“As a key program of the American Seniors Act, the Seniors Nutrition Program is the foundation of our country’s system for helping seniors age in place. For 50 years, it has provided meals health, opportunities for social interaction, and access to a wide variety of programs and services to help seniors stay active, healthy, and engaged in their communities. ACL is proud of this program and the network of services aging whose leadership and tireless efforts bring it to life across the country.

Becky Preve, executive director of the Association on Aging in New York, said“The nutrition program offered by aging service providers is a lifeline for seniors and their families. The ability to provide nutritious meals and daily security screening are often the reason seniors can age in place. The New York Association on Aging is proud of its members, the collaboration with NYSOFA, and the tireless work they do to reduce food insecurity through the nation’s largest nutrition program.

Nutrition programs offered to seniors

NYSOFA reminds New Yorkers that local nutrition services are available statewide for seniors age 60 and older. These include group meals in community restaurants or meals delivered to homes for people who cannot shop, prepare meals and do not have assistance with shopping and preparing meals on their own. themselves. Anyone over the age of 60 can access group meals, and those who need a meal at home must meet the eligibility criteria.

Income-based assistance is also available for seniors, including help paying for food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which provides coupons to buy locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables from participating farmers. markets.

To access any of these vital programs, contact your local office for aging using the NYSOFA directory, or call the NY Connects hotline at 1-800-342-9871. You can also find more program information and application information on the NYSOFA Nutrition Support page.

New SNAP process and video tutorial

New York State recently streamlined the SNAP enrollment process to make it easier for seniors to participate, including a shorter SNAP application and less frequent recertification periods (every 36 months instead of 24). Also, an interview is no longer required during the recertification process.

To highlight these important changes, NYSOFA recently produced a video with tips to help people complete the new application process.

Volunteers wanted

Local offices for seniors also rely on volunteers to help support locally administered nutrition programs. Please contact your local office for aging about volunteer opportunities today, including preparing meals, delivering meals, or assisting with a group meal site in your community.

“Local offices for seniors and their partners provide more than 20 million meals a year to more than 245,000 seniors,” Olsen said. “These programs succeed through a partnership of federal, state and community resources, including the kindness of everyday New Yorkers who help prepare, serve and deliver meals. Please consider volunteering your time and making a difference by volunteering today.

Additional information on 50 years of nutrition programming

The Seniors Nutrition Program is a critical cornerstone of the Federal Senior Citizens Act (OAA) to support the health and well-being of seniors through nutrition services.

The program was officially established 50 years ago under its own title of OAA, in 1972 when it was finally authorized by Congress. It is overseen at the federal level by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), which provides grants for state-level nutrition programs.

Funding for the New York Nutrition Program at NYSOFA comes from a combination of federal, state, and local government sources coordinated into one statewide nutrition program.

To learn more about the program, please see our County Breakdown of Meals on Wheels and Congregate Meals Served in New York State and other resources at

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