Senior nutrition programs serve up a sense of community along with a healthy meal

Older woman and man smile while eating a salad.
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It’s National Nutrition Month, a great time to reflect on the positive impact Senior Nutrition Programs are having on people across Washington. These programs provide access to healthy food and an avenue for social connection, something recognized in this year’s theme of Connection in Every Bite.

Senior Nutrition Programs work to reduce food insecurity, providing meals at community sites through programs like Asian Counseling and Community Services in King County, Diner’s Choice coupons for free meals at participating restaurants in Ferry, Pend Oreille and Stevens County and through home delivery with programs like Meals on Wheels. More than just a meal, these programs provide a chance to check in and to connect, both with community members as well as to other long-term services and supports that promote health and independence. Last year alone, more than 3.5 million meals were served to nearly 53,000 people across our state.

“These programs are critical to supporting the health and well-being of our family, friends and neighbors as they age,” says Bea Rector, Assistant Secretary of DSHS’ Aging and Long-Term Support Administration. “In addition to promoting healthy eating and providing meaningful social interactions, Senior Nutrition Programs also offer a way for us to connect people with other needed services.”

Washington also provides access to fresh fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs through the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which is open to residents age 60 or older and Native Americans/Alaska Natives age 55 or older. To qualify, you must have a monthly income below 185% of the federal poverty level, which is $27,861 for one person or $37,814 for a household of two. Farmers market season runs from June to October. You can apply through your local area agency on aging or a contracted SFMNP provider, visit this list of local providers for more information.

You can find more information on the Senior Nutrition programs available in your area by visiting these websites:

· Washington State Community Living Connections (

· Food Assistance for Older Adults (

· Build a Healthy Eating Routine as You Get Older ( | Spanish

· Senior Nutrition | ACL Administration for Community Living

· Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program | DSHS Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (

· Basic Food | DSHS (