Leaders Collaborate to Help Fight Senior Hunger

Hunger and older adultsSenior Hunger is a growing problem in the U.S., and Central Florida is no exception.  But a group of local committed stakeholders is hoping to change that.

With the support of a $20,300 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has engaged the consulting firm Horvath and Associates to lead a community-wide effort gathering leaders to develop a strategic plan to help Central Florida address the growing hunger needs within the senior population.

A group of individuals representing diverse organizations committed to the health and well-being of older adults will be invited to participate in what will be a three-phase approach. They include Good Food Central Florida (Central Florida’s Food Policy Council), the Senior Resource Alliance, Seniors First, AARP and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Committee on Aging.  Other anticipated participants include representatives of the University of Central Florida, Winter Park Memorial Hospital, Florida Department of Health in Orange County, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, and representatives from the health insurance and medical sectors.

In the first phase, the consultant will take participants through a full-day, collaborative work session to produce strategic themes that will be prioritized for further action.  Work teams for each theme will be formed with champions selected to serve as leaders of each work team.

During phase two, the consultant will meet with the champions to identify additional members for each strategic theme work team. Once the identified work team members have agreed to participate, the facilitator will meet with the work team to develop a high level work plan to advance the strategic theme.

In phase three, which will involve a half-day, collaborative work session, each work team will present its plans, allowing all participants to gain understanding of all strategic themes. The goal is to gain agreement in moving forward with the work, achieve  buy-in from each team member, and create mutual accountability across teams.

“This project is not about the allocation of resources, but rather how to holistically address the issue of senior hunger with solutions and approaches that will be more successful than if the organizations had never worked together,” said Tom Horvath, consultant.

The Senior Resource Alliance will assume a portion of the costs of this effort as will Second Harvest Food Bank through its in-kind support.  The nine-month project is expected to begin February 1.