Community Meal Programs
Purpose of the OAA Nutrition Program
Through the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program, ACL’s Administration on Aging (AoA) provides grants to states to help support nutrition services for older people throughout the country. These services include the Congregate Nutrition Program and the Home-Delivered Nutrition Program, which provide healthy meals in group settings, such as senior centers and faith-based locations, as well as in the homes of older adults who live alone. Through the Aging Network’s meal providers, the programs provide a range of services including nutrition screening, assessment, education, and counseling. Nutrition services also provide an important link to other supportive in-home and community-based supports such as homemaker and home-health aide services, transportation, physical activity and chronic disease self-management programs, home repair and modification, and falls prevention programs.
Nutrition services are authorized under Title III-C of the OAA. Designed to promote the general health and well-being of older individuals, the services are intended to:
- Reduce hunger and food insecurity,
- Promote socialization, and
- Delay the onset of adverse health conditions.
Services are not intended to reach every individual in the community. Programs target adults age 60 and older who are in greatest social and economic need, with particular attention to the following groups.
- Low-income older adults
- Minority older individuals
- Older adults in rural communities
- Older individuals with limited English proficiency
- Older adults at risk of institutional care
Fast Fact: Through AoA funding, as well as funding through state and local government, nonprofits, individual donations and other sources, about 5,000 providers together serve more than 900,000 meals a day in communities across the country.
About Home Delivered Meals
The Home-Delivered Nutrition Services of the OAA authorizes meals and related nutrition services for older individuals who are homebound. Home-delivered meals are often the first in-home service that an older adult receives, and the program is a primary access point for other home- and community-based services. The program serves frail, homebound, or isolated individuals who are age 60 and over, and in some cases, their caregivers, spouses, and/or persons with disabilities.
Recent data from the National Survey of OAA Participants illustrates how the Home-Delivered Nutrition Programs are effectively targeting services:
- 69% of individuals served by this program are 75 years or older
- The average age of a participant is 79 years old
- More than 60% of participants indicate that a home-delivered meal provides one-half or more of their total food for the day
- 91% of participants say that home-delivered meals help them to stay in their own home
- More than 50% of all participants live alone
This program serves much more than food. It provides a safety check, and sometimes the only opportunity for face-to-face contact or conversation that day.
he Congregate Nutrition Services section of the OAA authorizes meals and related nutrition services in congregate settings, which help to keep older Americans healthy and prevent the need for more costly medical interventions. In addition to serving healthy meals, the program presents opportunities for social engagement, information on healthy aging, and meaningful volunteer roles, all of which contribute to an older individual’s overall health and well-being.
The Congregate Nutrition program serves individuals age 60 and older, and in some cases, their caregivers, spouses, and/or persons with disabilities.
Recent data from the National Survey of OAA Participants illustrates that Congregate Nutrition Programs are effectively targeting their services:
- More than 50% of participants are 75 years or older
- The average age of a participant is 76 years old
- 58% of participants indicated that one congregate meal provides one-half or more of their total food for the day
- 77% of participants say they eat healthier because of a meal program
- 76% of participants believe their health has improved as a result of a lunch program
* Above information excerpted from the Administration for Community Living website.
AOASCC grants OAA Title IIIC funding to two community organizations.
- LifeBridge Community Services (New Haven Area Residents), 203-752-9919
- TEAM, Inc. (Valley Residents), 203-538-5886 ext. 4225
For a list of Senior Cafe Sites and other information on meal resources for older adults, click here.
SNAP and CSFP Food Boxes provide assistance with the cost of groceries. Find out more.