State distributes $7 million for senior meal assistance
The Illinois Department on Aging, IDoA, on Saturday, April 11, announced that it had distributed $7 million across the state to meet the growing demand for meal assistance by older Illinoisans impacted by the coronavirus/COVID-19 public health emergency.
IDoA distributed the funds, provided through Emergency Assistance Services grants, to the state’s 46 Care Coordination Units, CCUs, to support meal programming for older Illinoisans at highest risk for malnutrition and hunger.
Last year, more than 85,000 seniors were provided meals at congregate meal sites and an additional 43,000 seniors received meals delivered to their homes.
As a result of temporarily suspending meal service in the 399 congregate dining sites statewide, seniors who previously received meals at these sites are now being included in IDoA’s home delivered meal programs.
In a one-week period between March 30 and April 3, a total of 178,599 meals were home delivered reflecting an average of 35,000 meals per day.
In that same week, a total of 4,907 new referrals for home delivered meals were processed. That’s, on average, close to 1,000 new referrals per day, the department noted.
“We have been supplying our providers with more dollars to assist them with unmet needs, and we have anticipated that the demand for home delivered meals is going to continue to increase, as we have already seen,” said Paula Basta, the director of IDoA.