OTTUMWA — Milestones Area Agency on Aging will be kicking of their “March For Meals” campaign on Wednesday, March 1. The campaign seeks to bring attention to the growing issue of food insecurity for Older Iowans, specifically the increased need for home meal delivery.

The agency saw a dramatic increase in the demand for home meal deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, emergency funding sources such as the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), have since been expended. This leaves Milestones with the challenge of maintaining an increased volume of senior meals, under the pre-COVID level of funding. Rising food and employment costs have further added to the challenge.

“We are faced with having to serve more with less,” said Milestones Nutrition Programs Director Pam Taylor. “Our top priority will always be serving meals to those who need them the most, but the challenge grows larger every day.”

Milestones delivered over 275,000 home delivered meals across 17 southeastern Iowa counties in 2022 and the need is only expected to increase.

“Since COVID, we have seen a steady increase in requests for home meal deliveries,” said Taylor. “There have been no signs of that demand slowing down.” 

According to Milestones CEO Becky Passman, funding is a critical component in meeting this demand.

“Emergency funding allowed us to expand our nutrition programs, but those sources are no longer available,” said Passman. “Private contributions are even more critical to enabling us to sustain these programs.”

As a National Average, the Older Americans Act funds 40% of the total cost to provide senior nutrition services; the other 60% of funding that serves seniors each year comes from state and/or local sources and private donations from foundations, corporations and individuals. Meal recipient contributions cover less than 15% of the total cost of each meal. 

“No one will ever be denied a meal due to an inability to contribute, however,” said Passman. “We believe strongly that the generosity of our communities will be a tremendous asset.”

Milestones Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) is one of six state-designated Area Agencies on Aging that serve the State of Iowa’s 99 counties. Milestones Area Agency on Aging is a private, not-for-profit corporation serving individuals throughout 17 counties in Southeastern Iowa. With an administrative office in Davenport and regional offices in Burlington and Ottumwa, Milestones consistently strives to expand agency reach to provide necessary programs and services to as many individuals as possible within their service area, with particular priority placed on those most at risk.

More information about the increased need for senior meals is available on the campaign website at Donations can also be made through this page.

“We simply need more awareness toward senior meal insecurity,” said Passman. “We hope this campaign is a step in that direction.”


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