Georgia is among the many states with a significant number of seniors facing the risk of hunger. The coordinated effort to address senior hunger began in 2014 when Georgia was ninth in the nation for the threat of hunger (1) among seniors aged 60 and older. Georgia has remained in the top 25 states with the highest rates of food insecurity. However, state agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations are continuing to work to address senior hunger.
Georgia's Division of Aging Services (DAS) has measured food security among its clients since 2012. Client assessments are critical elements in targeting the most vulnerable older Georgians. Specifically, DAS has been surveying its Home and Community Based Services clients through a six-item food security survey annually since 2012 as a critical feature in determining which older Georgians are most at risk and in need of nutritional services.
Stakeholders statewide determine the best course of action to address senior hunger annually. Georgia held its first Senior Hunger Summit in 2016, gathering experts, stakeholders and policymakers to prepare Georgia's first State Plan to Address Senior Hunger. Afterward, 12 regional listening sessions were held and their feedback informed the recommendations for the state plan. The plan was unveiled at the second summit and implemented in December 2017. The plan consists of five focus areas in addressing senior hunger: Today's Seniors, Health Impact of Senior Hunger, Food Access, Food Waste and Reclamation and Meeting the Community's Needs.
Georgia has accomplished many of the recommendations of the first state plan. Within the first state plan were several action items recommended to begin tackling senior hunger.
- Hired a Senior Hunger/Nutrition Coordinator (SFY19)
- Developed 12 regional senior hunger coalitions (SFY19)
- Established a Senior Hunger Interagency Council (SHIC) (SFY22)
- Began coordinating data collection and analysis across agencies (SFY21)
- Began developing and providing education and training (SFY19-Present)
- Expanded the What a Waste Program (SFY20)
- Began providing entrepreneurial mini grants (SFY19-Present)
Georgia continues to collect data, follow the research, and implement recommendations. For the most current updates, visit aging.georgia.gov/get-involved/senior-hunger.
1. A person or household is considered food insecure when facing the threat of hunger and lacking safe and adequate food to sustain health and quality of life and is unsure of access or the capability to obtain suitable foods in socially acceptable ways. [Anderson SA, J Nutr.1990; 120: 1557S–1600.