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No Hungry Senior

Serves seniors at the greatest risk of food insecurity and hunger due to illness, disability, and lack of access to food.

Clients are identified through the Aging Commission of the Mid-South waiting list (which is estimated at 2,000 and growing), hospital referrals, and other partners. We began this program offering three intervention levels—hot meals (or a combination of hot and frozen meals) delivered Monday through Friday, a shelf-stable pantry box containing seven meals and seven snacks delivered weekly, or a 22-pound grocery box delivered monthly. Clients receive the intervention best suited to their level of nutritional and functional need, and we quickly learned that our target population was too frail for the grocery box to succeed, so we discontinued that option.

The program, now in its third year, has met its goal of enrolling 1,600 clients; about 900 remain enrolled. Our clients are 63% female, 76% African American, and their average age is 75, with 35% of them age 80 or older. Thirty-five percent have less than a high school education, 48% receive less than $1,000 per month in income, 82% have high blood pressure, and 45% are diabetic.

In FY17 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017), MIFA Meals on Wheels served 554,162 meals to 3,784 seniors; of those clients, 1,191 received home-delivered meals, 1,292 were served at congregate sites, and 1,323 were served through the No Hungry Senior initiative.

An important component of the program’s design was our ability to evaluate its success on an ongoing basis, which we are able to do thanks to the support of the partner hospitals and the University of Memphis School of Public Health. Our data come primarily from client intake assessments and reassessments, and Methodist Healthcare is beginning to analyze the program’s progress using our clients’ electronic medical records.

At the time of their initial assessments, 72% reported eating less than two meals per day; at one year, only 18% reported eating less than two meals per day. We saw no significant changes in hospitalizations or other health factors, which is viewed as a positive finding considering the age and frailty of this population.

The most recent quarterly report noted statistically significant improvement in three areas: health, nutritional capacity, and isolation; slight improvement was noted in the areas of social support and safety. We have also seen significant reductions in emergency room visits and feelings of loneliness among clients. We feel that all these measures demonstrate the initiative’s success.

In addition to these outcomes, we also measure the program’s success by feedback from our clients. At the time of reassessment, clients report the following perceived benefits of the No Hungry Senior program: 90% eat healthier foods, 85% are able to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, 82% feel the program has improved their health, 87% feel better, 57% believe the program allows them to continue living in their own homes, and 83% report that they feel less hungry throughout the day.

In assessing clients, we learned that 45% live alone and 41% report being lonely. When we compared loneliness scores (based on responses to the three-item UCLA Loneliness Scale) at intake to reassessments at one year, we found that those scores had improved for 52% of clients.

Memphis, Tennessee—$3.98 million over three years from the Plough Foundation


Senior Connect


  • Tennessee

Population Served

  • Vulnerable Group


  • Still evaluating

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