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‘Tis The Season Of Giving

My husband and I were having one of those conversations that married couples have.

Money talk. What we didn’t realize is that our 5-year-old daughter was listening. She chimed into the conversation with “Well, why don’t you just give it to someone who needs it?” with all the innocence and generosity of a child. My heart swelled with pride. My first thought “Phew, we ARE raising her right!” My second thought “Yikes, why hadn’t I thought that myself!?!?”

What a timely conversation to have in this Season of Joy and Hope. This time of year, you may be giving a little extra to your favorite charity, or some scarfs and mittens to a local drive, and of course there are those beloved “Angel Trees” where we can help families have wonderful holiday celebrations. But, did you know that over 10% of the households in America are considered “food insecure?” In fact, when we look specifically at adults over 60 in Chautauqua County, the statistics are nearly double that! The definition of food insecurity is the state of being without reliable access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Access. Let that sink in.

Have you felt you do not have access to affordable and nutritious food because you didn’t have someone to take you to the grocery store? Or your impaired mobility doesn’t allow you to cook for yourself anymore? Or you feel unsafe cooking or shopping for yourself? Maybe your food dollars are not stretching like they used to and you have to maybe put a few items back on the shelf that you planned on picking up at the store. Lack of access can be due to impaired mobility, limited finances, or lack of transportation. If this is you, please call NY Connects at 716 -753-4582 and ask to learn more about our variety of meal programs.

In my house, my daughter often hears me talking about “the better food choice” or “eat something healthy first.” It’s just the nature of her having a mom who is a dietitian. So, after my daughter chimed into the conversation, she went to her little writing table to make a sign. The sign read “Help the Homeless” and she glued it to a stick. Then she marched around the house holding up the sign. She has a heart, like me, to help make sure that no one goes without food, especially nutritious food. If you are asking, “How can I help?”

Well, ‘Tis the Season of Giving! You can contribute in so many ways. One way is to call NY Connects at 716-753-4582 to learn how you can make a monetary contribution to the Meal Programs. Another way to contribute is to call one of our three partner delivery agencies to become a volunteer: Jamestown Meals on Wheels, Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels, or Sinclairville 76ers. And finally, check on your loved ones and your neighbors. Ask them if you can bring them some pre-portioned meals for their freezer, or if they need you to pick up something for them at the grocery store. Your leftovers may make all the difference!

Carey Skelton is available for nutrition education through SNAP-ed programs. Please remember to contribute toward your OFAS nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable without the support of participant and community contributions. Be aware that SNAP benefits can be used toward your contribution.

Call NY Connects at 716-453-4582 for more details and information about any of these Nutrition and Wellness programs provided by Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services.

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