A New Twist on the Walmart Greeter but Focused On Food Insecurity

The Lempert Report
November 20, 2020

United Way of Western Connecticut has created a new program in Danbury Connecticut that uses senior citizens to help other seniors access healthy and nutritious food.

In Danbury, 10.9 percent of older adults are food insecure, a University of Connecticut report has found. In parts of the city, food insecurity among older adults is as high as 30 percent, according to United Way, which believes these figures likely increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The program was developed after a June 2019 summit on food insecurity among older adults.

The Age Well Community Council of Danbury, a collaboration representing various entities that focus on healthy aging, created it.

Under this program, 12 people have been trained to call older Danbury adults to teach them about a variety of food resources, including pantries, farmers markets, SNAP and Meals on Wheels.

“We see this program as a way to create a bridge between older adults and food resources in Danbury,” Cara Mitchell, food policy manager for United Way of Western Connecticut, told the Times Union newspaper. “We are excited to build this network of volunteers that will be getting information to their neighbors and helping to demystify and destigmatize the process of accessing food.”

“I’m so glad to play a role in this Ambassador program,” Paul Trudel, who participates in the Danbury Senior Center, also reports the Times Union. “One-on-one conversations are the best way to connect older adults with community resources, and this program will help a lot of seniors who are struggling to get enough food right now.”

This is a great concept and one that should be embraced nationwide; and can easily be organized by the consumer affairs departments of supermarkets who will no doubt benefit from the goodwill and community spirit.