With the beginning of a new year, NFESH has entered into a new and promising statewide What A Waste project in Georgia – but it all started last June when two visionary and like-minded women met around an issue of common concern. That issue was the unacceptably high level of hunger threat among Georgia’s senior population. The two women were Georgia’s Commissioner of Human Services, Robyn A. Crittenden, and NFESH Chief Executive Officer, Enid Borden. The two had never met before; both were featured speakers at the 2016 Healthy Communities Summit in Atlanta.

GeorgiaEnid’s Keynote Address was, typically, an honest look at the serious and growing problem of senior hunger throughout the United States generally and in Georgia in particular. She put forward the facts and discussed the consequences of the current situation, specifically the deleterious impact hunger could have on the health of seniors. And as lamentable as those facts are – typically, again – her remarks were no lament. Rather they were a call to defiant action against the status quo and an inspiring message about what can, should and must be done to turn those statistics on their head in the future to transform lives for the better.

The audience was transfixed, and we believe that Commissioner Crittenden was the most attentive of all. It seems that she recognized another determined, like-minded and dedicated woman when she saw one. That was the beginning of a serious dialogue that has resulted in a new formal agreement between Georgia’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and NFESH to bring What A Waste to nine senior nutrition programs across the State.

DHS issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) across Georgia inviting them to compete for the opportunity to be one of three AAAs across the state to have What A Waste implemented in three Senior Nutrition Programs (SNPs) within their AAA. In January three AAAs were selected. NFESH has already contacted the three AAAs – the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Middle Georgia Regional Commission and Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging – as well as the nine programs and the statewide project is underway.

Engaging NFESH to implement the statewide program in Georgia demonstrates a vision and the serious project of a forward-thinking Commissioner who is focusing her energy, attention and resources on the welfare of the older residents of her state. With that kind of leadership we know that the Georgia What A Waste initiative is bound to be a peach of a project.