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Seniors First sets 2020 deadline to end senior hunger in US

By: Anne Papineau, Journal Staff Writer
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Of the six-million senior citizens the Meals on Wheels Association of America estimates face hunger in the United States, Auburn can claim its share. That noted, Seniors First has launched a program to end senior hunger by 2020. And it’s looking for citizens to sign on. Brenda Cathey, local Meals on Wheels coordinator, says one in nine Placer County seniors goes hungry every day. For the price of a takeout coffee drink, a senior can be fed what is often their one meal for the day. And the visit from their Meals on Wheels driver may be their only contact with another human. “Some get a meal from us, and divide it up, because it’s their only meal,” Cathey said. “We’re trying to bring the awareness up on how many people are out there. In Placer County, we just don’t have enough money.” Auburn’s Alice M. Mohr is an 88-year-old senior who can vouch for the good work performed by Meals on Wheels. “Honey, there are so many people in this area who couldn’t live without it,” Mohr said. Saddled with arthritis, Mohr can’t get far without her walker, her cane or her wheelchair. It’s tough to stand up and cook. She learned about Meals on Wheels from her healthcare provider. Mohr reserved praise for the volunteers who come to her home Monday through Friday, dropping off a hot meal and often taking a moment to chat. “I love every person who comes. They’re really good friends,” Mohr said. Cathey said part of the job of the Meals on Wheels drivers is to check how their seniors are faring. “It’s a valuable service to the community as well as to family members who don’t live nearby,” she said. “I can call them and tell them their relative is not doing so well. “Another aspect to consider is that if people don’t eat, they get sick more. So we pay more for Medicare through our tax dollars As part of a national campaign, the local Seniors First chapter is participating in March for Meals. “Every donation to Meals on Wheels is an investment in the health and well-being of a senior in need,” Cathey said. “We want people to stand up to end senior hunger in America.” First step is to take a pledge online. The Web site is mowaa.org. Donations of time and money are ever needed. Auburn Mayor Bridget Powers is a former Seniors First board chairman who supports the work of Meals on Wheels. Come March 24, she will join in National Mayors for Meals Day, joining a volunteer deliveryperson in bringing meals to recipients at the Valley Oaks apartments in Auburn. “We’re trying to keep seniors independent and in their own homes,” Powers said. “Seniors are often unable to cook for themselves. By providing Meals on Wheels we allow them to remain independent.” --------------------------------- Help end senior hunger Take the online pledge and learn way to volunteer and donate: www.mowaa.org Adopt-a-Senior: Call Brenda Cathey at (530) 889-9500, ext. 206