Finding and Accessing Food Assistance Programs

with Jennifer Adams,

NaviGuide, United Church Homes

This week on Ask a NaviGuide, host Michael Hughes chats with Jennifer Adams, one of our NaviGuides at United Church Homes. During the episode, Mike and Jennifer discuss resources and programs available to address food insecurity needs. Topics include discussion on congregate meal programs, meal delivery, waiver programs through insurance, food banks and pantries, requirements for accessing programs, and more.
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Highlights from this week’s conversation include:

  • Jennifer’s background and work as a NaviGuide (1:02)
  • Types of food insecurity programs available (7:07)
  • Congregate meal programs (7:53) 
  • Meal delivery programs (16:55)
  • Waiver programs through health insurance (20:59)
  • Utilizing local food banks and other national and community programs (30:55)
  • Advice for those wanting to get involved in supporting food programs (40:21)


Abundant Aging is a podcast series presented by United Church Homes. These shows offer ideas, information, and inspiration on how to improve our lives as we grow older. To learn more and to subscribe to the show, visit


Michael Hughes 00:07
Hi everyone, and welcome to this episode of Ask a NaviGuide, part of the Abundant Aging podcast series from United Church Homes. On this show, we tackle subjects in aging and family caregiving can be stressful to work through. And we do it with tips and advice from the United Church homes navigator team. Our navigators have decades of experience helping families work through these issues, and we hope that sharing the show will help everyone everywhere, age with abundance. Today, we’re lucky to have our NASA guide, Jennifer with us, and he’s going to help us understand food insecurity and the types of food programs that are out there that can help. And I know that there’s a lot of options, so we’re gonna dive into it. Hello, Jennifer. Hi, it’s great to see you again. Before we get started, we have to read this statement. The opinions shared in this podcast are those of our amazing NaviGuides and hosts, and are not meant to convey nor take the place of clinical legal or other professional advice. So as we always do, we just like to start these things out by sort of introducing you, Jennifer, or really having you introduce yourself. Can you tell us a little bit about, you know, what you do as a navigator, where you’re located and the types of people that you serve every day?

Jennifer Adams 01:22
Sure. I am a NaviGuide in northern Indiana in Marshall County and Elkhart County, Indiana, I work in affordable housing communities that serve individuals 62 and older. So I don’t know what to do.

Michael Hughes 01:44
But you do a lot. I mean, I just think of everything our NaviGuides do. I mean, obviously we’re talking to you right now about food insecurity issues. But I mean, gosh, you’re arranging transportation, you’re giving advice around different types of health insurance covers, you’re dealing with hospital discharges, you’re I know, you’re probably dealing with all sorts of family dynamics. And I’m guessing every day as a navigate is absolutely the same. Right? You come in and you do just the same thing day in and day out. That’s, I’m accurate there, right?

Jennifer Adams 02:21
Yes, sure. Yeah, every single day is the same. We don’t do anything different from day to day, we just sit at our desk, and you know, kind of hope people come in and need our help. And no, I’m kidding. What we do is we assist them with the individuals that we serve, we assist them with obtaining and supportive services, which allow them to age in place. So if that’s what they want to do, we take a very holistic approach to our jobs in the individual, meaning we don’t look at the whole person, we don’t just look at one little part of each person. And then we address the needs based on that individual’s needs and or desires. So we don’t take a one size fits all approach, we understand that you know what the needs of our seniors are, and then we, we get them assistance through qualified providers. So it’s a great job, you know, I’ve worked in long term care, facilities and social services, and I did interact with individuals that really, they would have rather, they would have rather been at home. And you know, some of them probably could have remained in their homes if someone had assisted them by just putting a few supports in place. And so I get to do that as a NaviGuide.

Michael Hughes 03:54
That’s amazing. And they tell me true or not, when you actually engage people, as people meet them where they are, and, you know, put supports in place that really work with their motivations, their goals, you know, I’m guessing, that might help a bit. Right? Actually, you know, that holistic model of support?

Jennifer Adams 04:21
Yeah, absolutely helps. I mean, we, you know, that you hear so often you have to meet people where they’re at. And that is just absolutely true. A lot of people say there, but they don’t really want to force the services onto people that they feel that they need, so, you know, it never works. When I do that kind of thing. People have a right to choose whether I agree with their decision or not, they have a right to choose. So I have to approach people, you know, as individuals and you know, I have to understand what they desire. So Do you know if they want to stay in their home? Is that their desire? So what can I do to help them do that? We all grew up differently, we all have different belief systems, we all have all of these things that have just created who we are. So I can’t approach them from my own mindset, I have to be able to approach them from their mindset and the things that they’re going to find suitable to their needs. And, you know, that just also comes back to the dignity thing, I have to do this with dignity. Because if I sit there, and I tell everyone what they need, and I tell them, you know, then basically, I’m treating them like a child. And these are our people that we should be looking up to, these are the people that, you know, they live life, they have so much experience, they have so much wisdom. And so I need to treat them with that dignity and respect. And meet them where they’re at. And just kind of pushing my beliefs on them.

Michael Hughes 06:05
It runs me through the difference between the golden rule and the platinum rule, the golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated Platinum Rule, treat others as they would like to be treated, you know. And man, that really brings that home for me. You know, in our previous podcast, we talked about just that, you know, recognizing the signs of food insecurity, recognizing the stigmas that might be there that may prevent someone from wanting to seek help, or even, you know, knowing that there’s different options out there. So certainly, you know, with that model we just discussed, I mean, it’s a great bet, best practice to get people to open up and say, Yeah, I’m willing to try something. But there’s a lot of different options out there. And I know that you’re speaking from your experience in northern Indiana, but I think that we, you know, did some pre prep for this meeting, you know, the types of things that you’re seeing here in the United States, it are often things that are pretty, you know, popular or at least common in other areas of the country. So I think that we got you as a great proxy for a lot of the different things that are out there. But we were talking about the types of foods insecurity programs that are out there, what typically do you see?

Jennifer Adams 07:21
Oh, there’s actually quite a few different programs out there available to most people. Many of these programs are federal programs. So they are across the United States. We have congregate meal sites. We have meal delivery programs, we have food banks in every county. And then of course, there’s food pantries that people can utilize. And then another federal program would be the waiver programs.

Michael Hughes 07:54
The waiver is through health insurance, medicaid medicare waiver program. Well, let’s spend some time going through each of them, if that’s okay. You mentioned a congregate meals side, what is a congregate meal site?

Jennifer Adams 08:09
Okay, the congregate meal program provides nutritious meals to individual 60 years and older, and also their spouses that they don’t have to meet the age requirement if

Michael Hughes 08:21
they’re younger than 60.

Jennifer Adams 08:22
Yep, if you’re married to someone under, you know, a 60 year old, you’re free to come and eat with them as well. These programs typically run Monday through Friday, and they are at various locations. This program, it’s a federal program, it’s funded through the Older Americans Act. And then of course, state and local resources are used to help, you know, with added funding for those if you participate in the congregate meals, there is a you know, a donation amount that they recommend, but no one’s turned away if they can’t pay. They just have a donation box out there, nobody’s paying attention to who’s putting money in there. So you know, you don’t have to worry about if, you know, somebody says, you know, you don’t have to worry about if someone’s nice, it’s not like they come up and collect money, nobody knows. So you’re free to come and participate regardless of whether you can pay that congregate meal sites are actually you know, they’re created to reduce hunger and food insecurity and of course malnutrition. But they also promote socialization, and they support the overall health and well being of adults. They conduct health screenings and they provide nutrition education during these lunches as well. The only challenge that I see with this program is that people might think I’m uncomfortable eating in front of others. And you know, we had previously discussed dental issues or icy hearing issues, sometimes people have severe hearing issues. And so they felt uncomfortable participating in a congregate meal because they can’t really participate in the right because the station

Michael Hughes 10:22
Yeah, congregate meal means that your location that you go to, and you’re eating with a bunch of other people, right?

Jennifer Adams 10:30
Yes, that’s correct. They’re not grabbing programs, you don’t just go pick up your food and leave, you have to eat the meal on site rather than in your home. So you, you find a meal site location, and you go in there, and you have your meal with everybody else. So that kind of causes a couple other barriers as well, with having to do that, you have to find the middle sight location. And then you have to have to get yourself there, which you know, can cause an issue if you have transportation issues or mobility issues. And then that also brings back the whole people who don’t want to accept charity. But, you know, this part we can overcome by just saying, hey, you know, set charity, because if you want to participate, you can give a small donation if you want to, you know, and it’s about socializing, and things like that. So it is a really great program.

Michael Hughes 11:36
Yeah, and I guess two questions I have kind of, you know, in thinking about that, first, well, first of all, I know that you actually operate a concrete meal site at one of our locations. So I want to ask about how locations may kind of put up their hands and offer that. But if I’m a person that wants to find a congregate meal site in my area, where would I go to, just Google it or?

Jennifer Adams 12:03
Yeah, you can do that, you can Google it, I’m sure they will come up. But you could also just, you know, you can find the congregate meal sites through your local area on agents, agencies on aging. And you can find that So if you’re not sure where your area agency on aging is, or who they are, just go to that elder care. And, you know, you just type in your zip code, and they’re going to be able to connect you with the current Cricut Millsite. near you. So

Michael Hughes 12:39
sorry, say, say the URL again, it’s

Jennifer Adams 12:43

Michael Hughes 12:49
Over here, DOT ACL. DACA. Awesome. And then, you know, for operating a congregate meal site, what sort of obligations are involved? Okay, so

Jennifer Adams 12:59
If you’re all I’ll just kind of walk you through the process, if you want to become a meal site, program or organization that hosts these no sites, so both of my buildings are, we are a congregate meal site. No sites, it’s actually a pretty easy process. So first off, you need to contact your area agency on aging, and let them know that you’re interested in doing that. At that point, they would kind of look around the area and see if a site is needed in their area. Another thing they might do is like, for me, where I work, we are, you know, we’re housing so we have people that live right there. So we have the population that they’re looking for. And I you know, so I can already offer the minimum amount of people that they would require in order to, to host a mill site. So that’s kind of the thing they would look for, is there already a program in the area? And even if there is, do you have enough people of your own that would participate in order to, you know, allow them to open a site there. If you are approved, it’s pretty simple. You basically sign a service agreement with the congregate meal site. So with your area agency on aging, you know, you’re agreeing to their specified days and times that they’re going to come into your building, you’re letting them know they’re going to have use of your kitchen, your community room during that time. You’re allowing other people to come into your building as well during those times. So other communities, people that live in the community, can participate in this program, so you have to open your doors to that as well. Typically they come around 10 o’clock, so you’re gonna host a cove coffee hour or allow them to, which is a lot of socialization for the individuals that participate in this.

Michael Hughes 15:10
And of course, you know, they’re, they’re not charging anything for us, right? I mean, they come in, they bring in the food, I mean, you’ll have to clean up and things like that. But it sounds like it’s pretty turnkey.

Jennifer Adams 15:24
It is actually very turnkey, you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to write, it doesn’t cost you anything. But all you have to do is be willing to open your doors to people coming into your building, you don’t clean up, you don’t do any of that, you don’t help. Nope, it all gets brought into you, the individual that will come from the they’re called mill site directors, they come into the building, you know, usually from in my buildings, it’s 10 to one, they come in they, they make the coffee, they they serve the food, they do all the cleanup, so I really I don’t have to do anything with that the only thing that I have to do is make sure that there’s available space in our fridge, that we have functioning appliances in our kitchen. And annually we do that your local health department may come in and do a check on the location and make sure that it knows that it meets those requirements as well. So that’s something that I know, I have to just meet with them, which is like a 10 minute thing. It’s not really a big deal. It’s a great program.

Michael Hughes 16:36
Yeah, it sounds like it. Okay, so just to sum up congregate Meals sites, you can find them through your local area agency on aging, you can Google it, if you want to give a donation, great. If not, that’s okay. You can come to your spouse’s if they’re younger than age 62, they can eat with you, you gotta eat it there, you can’t take it back to your room, you can’t take it back to your house. And so it’s for people that can actually have the transport to get there. So switching gears, let’s talk a little bit about the meal delivery programs. I mean, I think Meals on Wheels is probably the most well known. So in what situation would you recommend a Meals on Wheels, or who are those types of programs for?

Jennifer Adams 17:23
So there are a couple of different meal delivery programs, Meals on Wheels, you’re right is the most well known food delivery program. So for those, the people that I would recommend for those would be those that you know, have more difficulty, you know, with mobility and things of that nature, the Meals on Wheels, that is a needs based program, so you have to be 60 and older, of course, and then you have to meet certain certain requirements as far as your ADL or activity of daily living deficiencies. In order to qualify for that. They provide services, you know, for Meals on Wheels, you would go through a little assessment process, you would do the application, they would see if you qualify. The thing about Meals on Wheels is that it is a federal program. So it’s throughout the country. But each organization kind of handles the program differently. And I know that’s because, you know, some areas are just going to have, you know, they just have a whole high demand for it. And others maybe don’t have as high of a demand so they can lessen those requirements a little bit more. But it really is a needs based program 60 or older. Some of them work on a sliding scale fee. So it’s based on the income or ability to pay. So that can range anywhere from them telling you you don’t have to pay anything up to you would have to pay the full price for that. But I know they say that but once again, just like the congregate meals, no one’s turned away for failure to pay. This is also funded under Yeah, it’s also funded under the Older Americans Act. And then state and local resources also assist with that program. You know, depending on the demand for that program, though, you could be waitlisted sure,

Michael Hughes 19:30
hey, and with Meals on Wheels, I’ve seen it where often they’re giving people maybe a stack of frozen meals at once. Is that typical either so you don’t have to have a room in your fridge or freezer for some of these meals. That actually

Jennifer Adams 19:45
is not typical. So what we see is Meals on Wheels during COVID That is what we saw a lot. We also saw that in the congregate meals they were kinda because they still wanted people to have access to food. So they were kind of preparing. No, it’s like that. So when we see the frozen meals, that’s usually the other types of mail order meal programs that we see like mom’s Mills or the homestyle. Direct. That’s where we see kinda, the more, they’re sometimes they’re fresh, but those where you’re getting like all your meals for the week, they’re coming to your door, they’re being shipped to you. Those programs actually usually function underneath Medicaid waivers. So if you’ve been approved for a Medicaid waiver, that’s where you would see those programs more often. But Meals on Wheels typically will bring a fresh meal to you daily.

Michael Hughes 20:41
Okay. All right. Very cool. So Meals on Wheels, you have to qualify for it. It’s for people that could not get themselves to a congregate meals site, there will be an assessment, it’s needed space, maybe you have to pay something maybe not. But no one’s turned away. Because of income, there’s always an option. And you refer people to this, I think that probably the local area agency on aging can do it as well, you can dial them up directly. So that’s terrific. But you mentioned the waiver programs. And I want to get into that next. So waiver programs through health insurance. And it sounds like something you’d have to qualify for is that typically through like state Medicaid, is it Medicare? What have you seen,

Jennifer Adams 21:28
so the Medicaid waiver programs, they are through Medicaid. So they’re also called the home and community based services. So is HCBS. So if you hear Medicaid waiver, or you hear CBS, that’s it’s the same thing, that’s what they’re talking about. So these programs, you know, they help support those young term support and services that individuals may need in their home. So they do that rather than individuals having to go to long term care facilities. Medicaid waiver has income and asset guidelines, and those vary by state. So once again, it’s a federal program, every single state’s going to have some sort of waiver program, but the states kind of get to set the guidelines then for those. So in Indiana, there’s an income limit of $2,742, and then an asset limit of $2,000. But you need to remember that this asset does not include the home that you’re living in, or your one personal vehicle, they don’t include that in your assets. So your assets would be more, you know, the money that you have in the bank, or if you have stocks, bonds, different things of that leaving whole life insurance, that would be considered an asset.

Michael Hughes 22:54
That’s important, whole life insurance can be considered an asset. Okay, good to know.

Jennifer Adams 22:59
Yes. And a lot of people don’t realize that, but it does, because you have a cash value, you can cash those in. So anything that has a cash value that you can gain money from right now is considered an asset. So with the Medicaid waiver program, if you’re approved for that, then you would once again you could receive those mail order meals, you know, but there’s a lot of other things that you could receive through that program as well. And I know this is about food, so I don’t want to get too far in depth with those things. But there are so many, you know, you could get those homemaker services, you could get, you know, things like attendant care, a shower and different things of that nature.

Michael Hughes 23:46
Yeah, so, Home and Community Based Services HCBS otherwise LTSS long term services and for Yes, income requirements, asset requirements. I’ve got a note here. So Medicaid itself would not qualify you for getting into one of these programs, you’d go through it, Area Agency on Aging, or that sort of thing.

Jennifer Adams 24:12
Is that true? That’s absolutely true. So, you know, the way that Medicaid waiver is, you know, just explained briefly. So, it is an income asset guideline, you have to meet those. Once you know, once you have met that then it is a needs based program. So what’s going to happen is they’re going to assess you and assess each individual based on their activities of daily living, that’s what they do, that’s what they do. So what’s activities of daily living? That is your ability to walk ambulation so that’s what, you know, that is your ability to transfer so can you get up from a seated position? So that’s what they’re going to say. Start, that’s what they’re going to assess you for. In order to qualify for Medicaid waiver, you have to have three activities of daily living deficiencies. So walking, transferring, dressing, grooming, eating, bathing. So how difficult is it for you to perform these activities? Do you have to have an assistive device or hands on assistance in order to complete them? Right. So then the LTSS is, which is the same as that? You know, that’s

Michael Hughes 25:37
right. Yeah. That’s, by the way, just talk to people. Yeah, just talk. We actually discussed this in a previous episode that if you are in conversations with your doctor insurance plan, or what have you, if you do run across, what I like to call TLA, are three letter acronyms or in this case, four letter, always take time to say, what is that? What does that mean? You know, most people won’t know it. So don’t feel embarrassed. So sorry, a bit of an aside, but yeah,

Jennifer Adams 26:09
Yeah, that’s absolutely true. And since there are so many, kinds of different things that mean the same thing. You know, just ask those questions, because it can get very confusing. So it’s always okay, and actually in your best interest to just ask those questions. So these, this waiver program is way more than food as I previously said, you can if you’re approved for it, you can receive services, the homemaker services, attendant care, shower aids, you can get therapy, you can get case management. But it’s, you know, like you said earlier, Medicaid is not what qualifies you for this. So, just because you’re on full Medicaid does not mean you automatically qualify for waiver services. So the way to go about doing these waiver services is, you know, you have to do that referral to your area agency on aging, you can do that usually right on their website. So find out who your local area agency on aging is, they have a very simple form I’ll refer you to and most of them are right on their website. You could call and do it too, if you don’t want to use the computer. Once those referrals may they’re going to, they’re going to do a brief phone interview with you to see if they can determine over the phone that you have a need during that phone interview. I have to say this because this happens so often. You need to be honest, you have to be honest. Okay. So if you’re asked if you have difficulty getting up from a seated position, and you can get up from a seated position, but you have to rock five times to get out of that seat, or you have to hold on to something in order to get out of the seat. The answer is yes, you have difficulty getting up from a seated position. And sometimes the questions are, you know, during the assessment, they’re asked in a way that the general population may not understand. So in general, it’s a great idea to have someone that’s familiar with that process, such as a natural guide, present during

Michael Hughes 28:27
That’s essential. And I also say here that even if you don’t qualify for the full Medicaid program, you can still qualify. It’s not just Medicaid. This is also available through Medicare, Medicare Advantage, they have these waiver programs. So if you’re not a Medicaid recipient, there are still long term services and supports or home based home and community based services that you could qualify for. And the triple A’s are the Area Agency on Aging could be helpful there as well, I guess, right?

Jennifer Adams 28:57
Yeah. So yeah, it just kind of that’s how the process works. So if you pass that phone interview, they’re going to come out and they’re going to do a complete assessment for you. That’s what’s going to happen. And then they’re going to if they can determine me that so they’re seeing that there’s at least three deficiencies, you know, the ADL deficiencies, then they’re going to start their care plan for you. And then that’s kind of when the state comes in when we’re dealing with Medicaid. So the Area Agency on a gene are the caseworker through there is going to do that care plan with you. And then it’s going to be sent to the state for approval. If the state approves it, and says that you would qualify for Medicaid waiver, which I mean, I just wanted to find what waiver means. It means that the state is determining that you they’re going to waive the normal income limits for full Medicaid which is usually pretty low. I think it’s 1062 in Indiana, but as I told you waiver is 27 something. So they’re waving that income limit, so that you can qualify because they know that there’s a need for you to have services in your home. So that’s how the process works. But if you’re denied, if you’re denied the Medicaid, that doesn’t mean that you can’t receive waiver services. Now, often, the you know, the services you receive through your Medicare plans are short term. But there are different payer sources that your Area Agency on Aging has, that can help assist with those, you know, making sure that you’re getting those long term support and services in your home. So that’s another thing just because you ended up getting those supportive services doesn’t mean you have full Medicaid. So you need, you know, people that gets a little bit confusing with those type of things. But yeah, don’t just bail out because you’re not approved for Medicaid, because there are different payer sources.

Michael Hughes 31:07
Yeah. And, and even so, Jennifer, I mean, there’s still even when we get beyond the congregate meal sites, and then the Meals on Wheels and the waiver program, there’s still other programs you can access. And I’ve got a note here about, you know, food banks and the role that they play. And the fact that you know, calling your local food bank, who puts you on to maybe programs you’re not even aware of, yeah, because they’re the ones that deliver the food to the program.

Jennifer Adams 31:33
That’s absolutely right. So yeah, food banks are those non profit organizations that collect and store the food. And then they distribute them to your local food pantries or your soup kitchens or to other organizations that work with people. And then there, it’s important to mention, too, that some food banks do have on site pantries that are open to the public. And they are also the ones that organize those driver food distribution sites as well. But most of the federal programs are going to run underneath the food banks, they handle them. So because of that they are just an amazing resource. So there’s a couple of programs that I utilize through my local food bank. One is the commodity supplemental food program. And then the other one is the senior nutrition program. And both of those programs target the older adults, so the population that I serve. So I can tell you a little bit about those programs if you like. You absolutely, please. Okay, so the commodity supplemental food program is a national program. So every single one of us has access to participate in that program. That program is geared towards individuals 60 years of age and older. So if you are their age, you could potentially receive a box of shelf stable food items monthly, this program does have an income guideline. So you have to be at below or at or below the 130% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $1,580 a month for one person. So but that’s geared towards that. So if you meet that income level, when you’re 60 years or older, you could participate in that program. The other program that I utilize is called the Senior Nutrition Program. And this is also one that is run through my specific food bank. So not every food bank may run this program, but mine does. So with this program, there’s no income or asset guidelines, you just have to be over 60. So I just communicated with my mind to the local food bank monthly. I told them how many bags I want to come into my building that month and how many people you know want to participate in that program. And they bring those bags right to me every single month. And I do call them bags but yeah, they’re not, it’s a lot of food. They do get a bag full of water boxes now but they get a box below the shelf stable items as well but they also get bread and meat and eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables. So those come monthly is well so yeah, I

Michael Hughes 34:59
I’m Here a lot. I’m so glad that we’re covering each of these, because each of them itself is just such a great resource. I’ve also got written down here, I mean, you can call 211. And go on to one and find programs with churches or the Lions Club, the Kiwanis Club, you know, people that made, you know, want to do food program, and also importantly, for everyone, food donation programs, you know, if you have extra food in the house, you know, please take a moment and be generous and share it with the food banks in your area. And I know, there’s probably any number of ways you can find about local food drives, right?

Jennifer Adams 35:40
Yeah, there’s just a whole yeah, there’s lots of different ways that you can find different food programs. First off, you know, reach out to your local food bank, they’re the ones that handle all of the programs. So reach out to them, they know what programs are going to, you know, meet a specific population’s needs, they know where they’re sending the food, they’re overseeing these programs. So you can actually just reach out to them at the feed You just type in your zip code once again, and you know, your local food pantry is going to pop up. The cool thing about that site, though, is not only is your local it

Michael Hughes 36:26
just that’s from Feeding America, right? The feeding? Yes.

Jennifer Adams 36:29
I’m feeding Oh, feed. Okay, so

Michael Hughes 36:33
feeding feeding, let’s just say for everyone to see their feed or Feeding America, Dr. America? Yes. Yeah, I’m sorry. My fault. Well, that’s all right. So feeding is a great organization. Any. And, you know, this is a longer episode. But I think it’s just gold information, because and also, we talked before it, you know that? Let’s talk about the ugly vegetables a little bit, you know, the ones that they don’t feel that are suitable to actually go on the supermarket shelves. I mean, people even specialize in that stuff. Because we make food and then we don’t want to sell it because it’s got a weird shape.

Jennifer Adams 37:16
Yeah, yeah. So that is what I do want to clear. It is feed Oh, it’s feed America. Got it? Yeah, just so people know. Yeah, click on you know, type that in, put your zip code in, click find food. And then all of the pantries that are in your county are going to pop up. So yeah, great thing. So yeah, the food program you’re talking about? Yeah, that’s a great program. I mean, why throw that food out? It’s still good. So they distribute that to people in need, or different food pantries, things of that nature. I currently work with a program that is called cultivate food rescue. What they do is very similar, they don’t just focus on fruits and vegetables and things of that nature. So what they do is they work with area grocery stores, area bakeries, all of those types of places, and they get a lot of that ready made food. So you know, we get a lot of wraps and salads, and things of that nature. So they go collect those things before they’ve gone bad. And they redistribute them into, you know, programs like mine, or they do a backpack program for the schools, they use that food, there’s a lot of programs like that at the local levels, you just have to reach out and yeah, to one one is an amazing thing to reach out to why I like to one one, they’re kind of that 911 for social services. So you can just, you can reach out to them, you can reach out to them at 211 DOT org. And you know, it’s all online, you’re gonna find all of your local organizations, you just put in your zip code, or the fun thing about two are the great thing about them, because a lot of people don’t want to use a computer, you can just dial 211 And they’re going to answer that phone and they’re going to, you know, be able to connect you with anything in your area that’s going to help meet your needs. But yeah, also reach out to your local agencies, even the American Legion, the VFW is lions, clubs, churches, things of that nature. They are going to be able to refer you to organizations that are going to assist you with whatever needs you have there in your communities. They work with the other agencies. So don’t be afraid just because they’re not actually, you know, an agency that does that. Don’t be afraid to ask because they have all of these resources right there.

Michael Hughes 39:55
And they want to help that’s the thing they want to help I mean, if you are a loved one You know, is you know, are experiencing issues where you feel you, you know, don’t have enough access to food that you feel as nutritious for you as feel is healthy for you, if you’re having trouble getting out and getting food because of transport, if you feel like you can’t get to a congregate meal site or feel embarrassed about being, there are all these options out there for you. And, and, you know, again, it’s just something where people, I mean, it’s gonna go to waste otherwise. So please take advantage. Anything else you’d like to share? Before we wrap up this episode, Jennifer,

Jennifer Adams 40:39
The only other thing that I want to say is that if you are an organization, and you want to start, you know, you want to become a distribution site for, say, the commodity boxes, or some of these senior nutrition programs, you know, it’s not that hard. You know, these food banks make it fairly easy to go ahead and do that. So just reach out to them, let them know, hey, you know, I have this whole group of people that participate in this program, but they’re having difficulty getting over to that pantry to pick up that box or something like that, they’re going to work with you to make you a distribution site, because usually what they’re going that way anyway, so the you know, they’ve told me, I we’re going there, we’re going that way, it’s just as easy for us to drop these off at your location. So, you know, when we do that, then we’re Ilyn eliminating some of those barriers. Because you know, with those commodity boxes, individuals, I think they’re allowed to miss pickup twice, and then they are taken off the program. But if it’s already in your building, if it’s already where they’re at, you know, then they’re not going to be at risk of losing that. So just reach out to your food banks. They’re also the ones that know about every single age specific program, because they’re the ones running them they know, they’re going to be able to tell you about your target population, and services that are available to them surrounding food, and you might be able to just to get them right there at your own location.

Michael Hughes 42:21
Alright, so just to run these down quickly, again, we have our local area agency on aging, we have 211 is a great resource, local food banks like Feeding America resources. And of course, our wonderful NaviGuides heads can be terrific resources. So we do want to call out our navigate program. And I’ll do that as we bring this episode of Ask and have it to an end. And Jennifer, thank you so much for your wealth of knowledge. And thank you so much for sharing this on this show. And thank you to the listener for listening. This is an avid guide, part of the abundant aging podcast series brought to you by United Church homes. If you liked this week’s show, please share and subscribe, as we always say, we are on YouTube at United Church homes. You can also find every episode of this series at For more information about the UCH NaviGuide, and that’s both if you’re at need and also if you’re curious about bringing the types of programs that we’ve described into your own organizations, please visit and drop us a line or give us a call and let us know how we can be of help. We’d love to help whether just for one time or month after month, so we’re there for you. For more information about United Church homes, please visit And, again, thank you again for listening and we will see you next time.