NEWARK – Gov. Jon S. Corzine joined Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard today in congratulating Essex County and City officials for opening a new senior nutrition congregate meal site, a launch made possible through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.
In the spring, the State received more than $2.6 million in ARRA funding to support an expansion of senior nutrition services statewide. Essex County used part of its share of $296,518 to establish a new congregate meal site, this one at 2 Nevada Street in Newark. The site began serving meals two days a week at the beginning of July and will start offering five nutritious midday meals each week by the end of August.
Nevada Street in Newark is one of 11 new senior nutrition sites that have opened statewide with ARRA funding. Another 11 sites were able to remain open that would have closed without ARRA funding.
“During this economic crisis, too many New Jersey seniors are finding themselves with less and less money to take care of basic needs like food, housing and basic medical care. The difficult economy puts even more strain on their pocketbooks,” said Gov. Corzine. “This recovery funding from the federal government helps provide our seniors with vital meal and nutrition services. It helps to put food on the table for our seniors in their time of need.”
Commissioner Howard said New Jersey’s Senior Nutrition Program is an important resource to help older adults remain in their homes and communities with services rather than be cared for in nursing homes. “In order to do this for our elders, we need to increase support for home and community-based services, like nutrition. Good nutrition and good health are keys to successful aging.’’
New Jersey’s Senior Nutrition Program, which has congregate and home delivered meal components, currently provides 6 million meals to 63,000 seniors each year. Congregate meals are those provided in a central location such as a senior center or community hall. Home delivered meals are reserved for those who cannot leave their homes due to failing health.
“Our goal of serving tens of thousands of meals to an additional 3,000 seniors this year through ARRA funding is being realized today in congregate meal sites like the new one in Newark and at the tables of homebound seniors statewide,” said Howard.
Governor Corzine announced receipt of ARRA funding in mid-May. The funding is part of $100 million being made available for senior nutrition services nationwide by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nationally, ARRA is providing $65 million for congregate meals, $32 million for home delivered meals and $3 million for Native American nutrition programs.
Of the ARRA nutrition funds distributed to New Jersey, the 21 county-based Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) have received $1.7 million to be used for congregate nutrition programs and $914,259 for home delivered meals. The funding distributed to each AAA was made in accordance with a formula developed and implemented by the AoA.