In 2023, the Nutrition & Wellness team worked to strengthen existing programs and significantly increase opportunities for seniors. Focused outreach campaigns occurred in the Deerfield Valley and in the Brattleboro area, resulting in hundreds of seniors receiving seasonal fuel assistance to help them through the winter. We now staff a satellite office in Wilmington at the “Old Firehouse” twice a month for walk-in assistance. We assisted Meals & Wheels of Greater Springfield to rebuild their Board of Directors, pay off past debts, and re-launch their operation stronger than ever. A new Group Rate contract was negotiated with Trio Community Meals, helping six of our regional meal centers experience cost savings. Thanks to a grant from Meals on Wheels America, a new “Mountain Town Circuit” of community meals in the Londonderry, Weston, and Jamaica area was supported, providing weekly meals in a relatively unserved area. And during July flooding, staff were present at the Ludlow FEMA center to assist with a variety of resources.
This summer saw the successful launch of Locally Yours, a program that saw eight area farms provide vegetables every week to ten different meal sites for free pickup by seniors. A new evidenced-based wellness program, Walk with Ease, was launched in Brownsville, Brattleboro, Wilmington, and Londonderry. Our Foxy Fund now provides pet food to 130 pets of seniors, and the program has expanded to provide veterinary care, boarding fees, and prescription food & medicine assistance for pets.