Community, The Braxton Democrat

Senior Center Celebrates 50 Years of Nutrition Programs

March 22 marked the official nation-wide 50th anniversary of the Older American Act Nutrition Program. The Braxton County Senior Center joined celebration with a lunch-time program that included a nutritious meal, live music and door prize drawings.
According to Executive Director Mary Chapman the Older American Act has allowed the Braxton County Senior Center to serve Congregate Meals inside, Grab & Go Meals outside, and Home Delivered Meals to eligible seniors. In 2021, Braxton County Senior Citizens Center averaged serving 259 meals per day, (169 of them were Home Delivered Meals and 90 of were Grab & Go and Congregate meals combined) which meant over 65,000 warm “home-cooked” meals were served for the year. “We are so excited to celebrate this truly notable milestone. Together we will continue to strive to secure the support needed to ensure we can continue to provide these much-needed services for the next 50 years and beyond,” Chapman said.
The celebration commemorates the historic day of March 22, 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older American Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. The Older American Act Nutrition Program is the only federally supported program designed to be an antidote for both senior hunger and isolation.
The Braxton County Senior Citizens Center’s official Older Americans Act Nutrition Program began in the fall of 1976 under the direction Molly Holland, a registered dietician. In April 1977, the first meals were served in the Southern Baptist Church. This program grew rapidly and soon required a larger and more centrally located space. In addition, the Braxton County Health Department had made an inspection of the facilities at the church and declared that it was out of compliance with restaurant regulations because there was only one restroom. Consequently, the combined Gassaway-Sutton feeding site was moved to the Braxton County Armory on the 1st of August 1978, where 50 meals were served to seniors daily which included 10 of the meals that were sent to home-bound elderly.
The activities at the Braxton Senior Center join the national efforts to bring awareness of 50 years of senior nutrition success. Across the natin, these critical programs combat foot insecurity and malnutrition, fight social isolation, enable independence, and improve the health of the nation’s senior population. For 50 years the Older American Nutrition Program has been a vital lifeline to those in need of critical nutrition and social services, helped older adults maintain healthy, safe and independent lives, undoubtedly improved the lives of those served and their families.
The local celebration is just one of thousands across the United States that acknowledge the innovative approaches used to support seniors and to education communities so they can understand and use nutrition serves.