Meals Program Expansion for Seniors

Nashville Food Project, Nashville, TN

In 2019, The Nashville Food Project (TNFP) anticipates sharing over 5,000 nutritious meals and snacks each week with many of the city's most vulnerable residents.  About 1,400 of these will be served to seniors (65+), a 35% increase from their current senior meals production, in partnership with senior-serving organizations. Reaching many of their most vulnerable Nashville neighbors, these meals constitute an important source of fresh fruits and vegetables for meal recipients, and increase opportunities for strengthened social connections among participants.TNFP's approach to positive health outcomes for older adults begins with prioritizing fresh, nutritionally-dense foods in their meals, incorporating produce grown in their urban gardens along with high-quality food donated by local grocers, markets and restaurants. Through recent surveys, meal guests have shared ways in which TNFP meals have contributed to positive changes in their health, including eating less fast food, weight loss, and improved blood pressure, among others.

Further, many participants highlight social benefits, particularly the opportunity to meet and connect with people over the meal. For several area mobile meals programs, meals also support socialization and “safety checks” for homebound seniors. This year, TNFP is incredibly excited to be building a new headquarters in West Nashville. The building will be completed at the end of the year, including a large commercial kitchen, greatly expanding their meals production and food recovery capacity, as well as a community dining space. In 2019, they plan to launch a new community meal to welcome neighbors into the space, with an emphasis on outreach to area seniors. While this building includes necessary infrastructure upgrades, increasing senior meals production and introducing an on-site meal will require substantial resources of staff, food, supplies and volunteer coordination. Funds from National Benevolent Association will support the increase of these operating costs, enabling this significant expansion.

Update: TNFP recently finished building their new headquarters in West Nashville, and are proud of the large commercial kitchen which has greatly expanded their meal production and food recovery capacity. They are equally excited about the community dining space. In celebration of the work of the Nashville Food Project, one mobile meals participant said, “Before I wasn't eating, I was forgetting to eat. Now I'm eating more regularly. It's helping my health. I had a stroke about 3 and a half years ago, and the healing process is taking a lot of my energy. This is a convenience for me, because it's brought right to my door. And a lot of the time it has brain food. I don't have to cook a meal when I'm about to conk out. You have no idea how much of a help it is. It's just beautiful.”

Mission Area: Older Adults

Innovation Grant: US $15,000