Confronting the Issue
How do we confront the issue of senior hunger in America? How do we have a reasoned discussion about an issue that too few people even know exists? And most important of all – when will we have that discussion? It needs to happen now.
America’s infrastructure is aging. America’s bridges, tunnels, highways and city streets are cracking, sagging, buckling, and disintegrating. But our national aging phenomenon doesn’t stop there. Americans themselves are aging. The Congressional Research Service has reported that America “has been in the midst of a profound demographic change: rapid population aging.” It is estimated that by 2050, one in five Americans will be 65 or older. Also by 2050, America’s most populous age group will be the oldest old. The oldest old are those who are 85 and above. In fact, this cohort will account for 7.4% of the entire U.S. population. The report goes on to state that the numbers of older people in poor health are “almost certain to rise.”
How Do We End Senior Hunger
We know for a fact that poor health is a contributor to and a result of poor nutrition. We know that there are millions of seniors who suffer from food insecurity and hunger. We know that for as long as we have been tracking these numbers (for over a decade) the numbers of seniors who face the threat of hunger or who are hungry have been rising steadily.
The question that we have been asking is “how do we end hunger?” The answer is at our fingertips: we feed people. But that’s not nearly enough. The question of why seniors suffer from food insecurity and/or hunger in the first place is known to us.
There are circumstances that will always be present that prohibit or inhibit an individual’s ability to provide food for one’s self. These factors may be lack of resources, lack of mobility, lack of access to food, a poor health condition, isolation – both social and emotional− or any number of other reasons far too numerous to name. Suffice to say, while the circumstances surrounding the presence of hunger are many, the end result is always the same – food will resolve it in the short term. In other words, food will cure the symptom, but now we must discuss curing the disease.
The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH), is committed to doing just that: bringing together the best minds in all sectors; commissioning research; and exploring social entrepreneurial innovations to seek long-term, sustainable solutions to end senior hunger. We must use a data-driven approach and work with many community, corporate, and national partners to design a model of inclusive elderly well-being that an American society can embrace.
NFESH has been in existence for over a decade. We were formerly the Meals On Wheels Research Foundation. We changed our name, our address, and our mission and vision this year. We are a non-profit foundation seeking solutions to a vexing problem that has either been ignored or assumed to be adequately addressed.
We are a team of people with over 100 years combined experience in the aging/hunger arena. We have “lived” with these issues and their consequences for long enough to know that unless a thought-leadership process is enabled, the long-term solutions to ending senior hunger will never be found. The well-being of the burgeoning senior demographic presents a myriad of challenges that must be confronted now or this economic/healthcare/humanitarian collision course we are headed into will exact a huge cost.
What We Do
NFESH is actively engaged in commissioning research from America’s foremost authorities in the fields of aging, healthcare, and senior hunger. We are conducting our own in-house research and analysis on salient issues that either have or will have an impact on an aging population and the prevention of senior hunger. We believe that the best possible way to end senior hunger would be to prevent it in the first place. We believe that there is a lifecycle of hunger. Most hunger doesn’t just happen overnight. There are aggravating circumstances that precipitate a person’s becoming hungry or facing the threat of hunger. We know the entry points into this lifecycle. We are committed to finding the exits.
We will conduct Thought Leadership Labs and invite thought-leaders in every sector to come together to help us “imagine” the best solutions and innovations to end senior hunger community by community.
Then we will take what we have learned to local communities and have them come to the table with us as we quash senior hunger in “local test markets.” Bringing ALL interested parties together in common cause and common action will be the goal of our CUASH™ model. CUASH™: Communities United Against Senior Hunger will be our marketplace of ideas and solutions’ testing ground. If we continue to do things the way we are doing them today, we are destined to see those numbers of hungry, sicker seniors continue to rise. This is unacceptable.
The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger is a hybrid non-profit organization. We intend to use our original research findings and then test hypotheses on the local level as well as to engage social entrepreneurs to work alongside us and the community to fill gaps, disseminate knowledge, and undertake societal change for the betterment of our most precious resources – our hungry seniors.
We are the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger and we intend to live up to our name. We’d like you to be a part of it. It’s your community and your country too.
NFESH (pronounced neh-fesh) is a Hebrew word that means soul or life force, or the obligation to save a life in jeopardy. We take the obligation seriously.