The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank partnered with the Mira Mesa Senior Center in January to provide a six-week healthy lifestyle and nutrition class to seniors. The Food Bank provides nutrition education services to over 4,500 seniors annually, 400 of which take the six-week course each year. Over the six classes, participants learned about MyPlate, serving size, goal setting, reading and understanding food labels, sugar and sodium consumption, eating healthy on a budget and more. Each participant was given a Nutrition Education and Wellness booklet with resources and tools to help support healthy eating and healthy decision making. Throughout the course, over 80% of participants reported increasing their fruit and vegetable intake and reducing consumption of sugary drinks.
The class, which is available free for community organizations all across the county, was well-received by participants.
“The class was very beneficial,” Mira Mesa Senior Center Director of Activities Sandy Smith said. “It made [the seniors] more aware of their eating habits. The feedback I received was all positive.”
The course also helped to strengthen a newly-formed partnership between the two organizations that share a mission to improve the lives of aging adults. Annually, over 4,500 seniors receive nutrition education from the San Diego Food Bank’s nutrition team at various locations throughout the San Diego region. The San Diego Food Bank and Mira Mesa Senior Center are now working together to connect seniors to food assistance programs, including CalFresh and the Food Bank’s Senior Food Program. While previously located at a warehouse site that was difficult to find, the Food Bank distribution site in Mira Mesa is now hosted at the Senior Center along a highly visible and easily accessible corridor.
“Mira Mesa Senior Center is much more convenient and easier for the seniors to get to,” Smith said.
The food distribution site had its grand opening at the senior center on March 15, with over 150 community members in attendance. Representatives from the County of San Diego were also on site to conduct free blood pressure screenings and hand out Live Well San Diego materials, recipe cards and nutritional information.
“It was very successful for a first time event," said Smith. "We ran out of food and there were more first time sign ups than expected."
The Senior Center will continue to work with the San Diego Food Bank as the distribution site for the Mira Mesa community moving forward.
If you are interested in hosting 6-week Senior Nutrition Classes or learning more about the Senior Food Program, please call the San Diego Food Bank at (858) 527-1419.