CPDC and Communities Together. Growing and Thriving (2011 – Present)
Tribute# 15 – Our New Community Building Model: Bringing Healthy Food Options to Seniors at Wiley Bates
For many seniors, daily activities such as buying groceries can be difficult. In 2010, 8.3 million Americans over the age of 60 faced the threat of hunger – up 78 percent from a decade earlier, according to a 2012 Meals on Wheels report. Faced with issues such as low income, isolation, and/or lack of access to transportation, some seniors become extremely vulnerable as they begin to age in place. CPDC addresses the issue of food shortage, among others, with Seniors at the Residences at Wiley H. Bates through ongoing health and wellness initiatives.
Through CPDC’s partnership with Food Link Maryland, a local food bank, seniors at Bates benefit from fresh produce delivered directly to the property either weekly or bi-weekly between the periods of April and November. While this produce program has been and is extremely valuable to residents, many are left without access to produce during the winter months. CPDC recognized this gap and the serious need and soon created the “Great Grocery Give.”
Since 2013, CPDC has participated in The Great Give Anne Arundel County, a 24-hour online fundraising event created to bring together the community to support local nonprofit charities. This fundraiser is organized by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County and raises awareness for more than 100 local nonprofits in the area. CPDC’s participated in the broader give initiative resulted in the organization specifically raising funds to support residents at Bates through a program CPDC coined, “Great Grocery Give.” Just this past year alone, CPDC raised enough resources to purchase over 3,000 pounds of fresh produce delivered directly to Bates residents for the entire winter.
“The great grocery give is just what it’s called, ‘a great give’,” said Bates resident Emily Rowe. “I get excited opening up my box of produce and seeing what new treats I receive. I get items ranging from sweet potatoes and eggplant to bananas and nectarines.”
CPDC’s produce program not only provides produce, but addresses issues of isolation by encouraging fellowship among residents. According to Dr. Bryan Bruno, acting chair of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, isolation is a significant factor in both reduced quality of life and mortality for seniors. And in a building with 71 units, isolation can be very prevalent. Through this produce program, residents have been rallying together and meeting either weekly or bi-weekly to count the produce items, separate them, and distribute them evenly amongst themselves and their neighbors that have signed up to receive food items.
“You can look and see the joy on people’s faces when they receive the fresh produce,” said Rowe.
CPDC’s Great Grocery Give and ongoing produce program is a remarkable example of how CPDC is ensuring that residents age in place as they enjoy the fruits of their labor; one fruit (and vegetable) at a time.