Helping Older Adults Access Healthy Foods

FoodWIse has a long standing partnership with a low income senior housing site in Fond du Lac, Riverview Senior Apartments. FoodWIse works with the residents through a 6 week summer nutrition series and has recently added a strength training program for older adults, Strong Bodies, to the offerings. The residents form strong relationships with the FoodWIse educators throughout this education. 

Last summer, FoodWIse learned that the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program was newly established in Fond du Lac County. This program provides $45 in vouchers to use at the farmers  market or farm stands to receive fresh produce. An individual who is eligible to receive these vouchers (eligibility includes age and financial need) needs to fill out paperwork in person at the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC). In conversations with the residents at Riverview Apartments, many of them cited concerns with traveling in person to receive these vouchers due to mobility and transportation issues. Some of them simply could not make it to the ADRC to receive the vouchers. 

FoodWIse established a new relationship with the ADRC several months ago, learning more about their services to the community and how we can best work together. FoodWIse started teaching nutrition classes at various congregate meal sites throughout the county. Through our partnerships and relationships with the ADRC, we also discussed how we could support the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and make it accessible to more individuals this summer. One idea was to invite the ADRC to one of our existing nutrition programs at Riverview Apartments so that vouchers could be handed out in person, alleviating the need for special travel. This idea was well received by staff at ADRC and at Riverview. 

FoodWIse had another idea of bringing ADRC resources directly to the residents at Riverview Apartments through a “Wellness Fair”. The staff at Riverview Apartments, Julie, loved the idea and decided to host their very first Wellness Fair and invited many community agencies to the building to share about their resources. FoodWIse supported Julie in the concepts of this event, including ideas for agencies to invite, as well as, creating an advertising flier. The event was a huge success! Residents were happy to receive a variety of resources from roughly 10 Fond du Lac community serving programs. 20 individuals were eligible to receive the Farmers Market Voucher from the ADRC booth. ADRC was able to have all of the information needed there at the site and people left with their vouchers in hand. FoodWIse advertised their upcoming summer nutrition series at a Farmers Market tour coming up. Residents and agencies alike found the Wellness Fair to be a success; Julie plans to make this an annual event.

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