New Mexico has the third highest rate of senior hunger in the country – about 11.5% of seniors were food insecure in 2017, according to
A partnership between Presbyterian, Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque, Three Sisters Kitchen and Encuentro is trying to change that statistic by connecting seniors with healthy food while supporting workforce development and entrepreneurship.
Through Connecting Harvest to Health/Connectando Cosechas con la Salud, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and Presbyterian, 135 Spanish-speaking home health aides are being trained in cooking and nutrition for seniors and offered paid internships and professional development opportunities. Additionally, 63,000 pounds of local produce is being purchased and included in free meal delivery for 1,620 low-income seniors.
The program recently celebrated its first graduating class of 15 home health aides, some of whom now have paid internships as home health aides with Meals on Wheels clients.
The project is also getting positive feedback from seniors, according to a recent
One participant said, "I probably would be eating fast food if I didn't have the meals. I eat healthy this way."