Make Mother's Day Delicious for a Homebound Senior Mom

BlogHer Original Post

For the third year in a row, the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is celebrating Mother's Day with the Meals for Moms campaign, an effort to make sure no senior women go hungry on Mother's Day—or any time of year. According to MOWAA, 60 percent of seniors facing hunger are women, and that gender gap is growing each year. The Meals for Moms campaign aims to reverse that trend by providing an opportunity to honor the women who raised each of us by helping feed hungry senior women around the country.

Meals For Moms

"These are the women that raised us, that taught our schools, and ensured we had nutritious meals and had food on the table every night, and it's the irony that they're facing hunger," said Marley Rave, MOWAA's Assistant Vice President of Communications, Marketing, and Development, and a speaker at BlogHer Food '12. "We want to honor our senior mothers, especially, because they're hidden and they're forgotten, and that needs to change."

According to the campaign, it takes just $7 to deliver a meal to a hungry senior Mom. You can donate that amount, or more, and can do so in honor of a special nurturer in your life. If you're short on funds, that's OK—the campaign site also allows you to send a free message of hope to a senior mom for Mother's Day.

I learned firsthand the importance of Meals on Wheels from my own grandmother, who lived in rural upstate New York and took her food delivery—which came a few times per week—very seriously. In fact, when I went to visit her toward the end of her life, she actually made me clear out of her apartment so she could stick to her Meals on Wheels routine without my interference.

"Around 4 pm, my Meals on Wheels person is going to be by," she said. "You'll need to go find something to do with yourself then while I eat."

I was taken aback for a moment. I'd driven the eight hours from Washington D.C. to visit her—couldn't she take a day off from Meals on Wheels to hang out with me? And then I realized the real dynamic in play: for my grandmother, this was more than just about a delivery of food. This was a chance, every few days, for her to have conversation with a volunteer she liked and trusted, and while she appreciated my visit, she wasn't going to let it interrupt the ongoing relationship she'd developed with the person who brought her her meal. This was important, and so, as requested, I made myself scarce so she could hold fast in her cherished routine.

"It gets back to who is going to be there to take care of your Mom," Rave said. "She's not going to be able to go out to the grocery store; she's not going to be able to cook for herself. Most important, she might need someone who can knock on the door and say, 'Hi, how are you doing today?'".

That's exactly what my grandmother recognized, and why she made a point of keeping the routine in place even when I was visiting. After all, I didn't live nearby, and more often than not, that's the situation a lot of seniors are in—their families don't live nearby, and they have to rely on others for their day-to-day care. The Meals on Wheels recipient in this video explains how it works for her:

According to the 2010 Senior Hunger Report Card, released last week by MOWAA, one in seven seniors is threatened by hunger. That number is up from one in nine seniors in 2005—though some of that change is as a result of the economic downturn, it doesn't change the fact that this country is failing to feed an all-too-easily-forgotten segment of our population.

 

The Report Card news sent thedeafchef of Clean Your Plate into a tizzy:

I’m going to throw some numbers at you about just how much Mr. Barack Obama and president wanna be Mittens Romney have spent on their campaigns:
Obama: $196,900,097

Romney: $87,452,399

Will someone please tell me how these men justify this when 1 in 6 people in America are hungry?

 

On her blog, Amanda Peterson shared her grandmother's recipe for cornbread and her thoughts on the hunger crisis in America in the wake of the report card's release. One of her concerns is proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps—it's another piece in the puzzle that makes up our country's safety net for the hungry:

I absolutely agree we need to do something about our debt and something about out spending. I also agree we need better aid--to streamline the system, get government departments to work together and make an altogether more efficient and more cost effective welfare system and international aid system. But I do not agree that drastically cutting SNAP as proposed without looking for ways to first improve the system and make it more cost effective is the way to go and it will drastically effect the lives of millions of Americans, many of them the most vulnerable in our society.

How has the Meals on Wheels program affected you and your family? Do you have a relative who has received deliveries from the program's volunteers? Will you participate in the Meals for Moms campaign this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories. She is also the Food Section Editor for BlogHer.

[BlogHer Food '12BlogHer Food '12 will bring food bloggers together to learn, share, inspire, and of course, to EAT! Whether you're new to food blogging or an old pro, you should join us in Seattle, WA on June 8-9, 2012 -- register now!]

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