COVID -19 Response: Sustainable Food Access for Seniors

As the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic set in, End Hunger Durham understood that older adults are particularly vulnerable and should try to stay at home to stay safe. Many of the seniors we serve were not only living with food insecurity, but the fear and uncertainty that came with the coronavirus. Our COVID-19 programs were designed helped seniors realize that there ae people in the community who are there for them and we would do what we could to help them stay safe and well nourished.

Senior Meal Service

 In response to the risks posed by COVID-19, especially among senior populations, End Hunger Durham partnered with four local catering business to provide weekly deliveries of meals to 18 congregate senior housing sites. Between March and September of 2020, 1205 residents were served a total of 54,312 nutritious meals while maintaining best practices for COVID safety. Masks and hand sanitizer were also distributed, along with deliveries of fresh produce, thanks to the USDA Farms to Families program.

In February 2021, End Hunger Durham began service again, this time directed towards seniors who lacked the means or resources to easily or safely prepare their own meals. 124 vulnerable seniors participated in this program, which served over 8,500 meals by the time it finished in October 2021.

Community Health Promoters

As part of a coalition of agencies, which received funding from the Duke-Durham Fund, EHD trained resident leaders to encourage COVID-19 prevention measures, promote health education, and connect people to resources. These Community Health Promoters received a stipend for their service through September 2021. Many are continuing as volunteers.  EHD staff is encouraging and supporting their efforts.


Access to Information and Resources

EHD has joined with local agencies to help older adults bridge the digital divide so they can order groceries, find resources, and communicate with family and friends.

For those who cannot use a smart phone, tablet, or computer, we will continue with updates on COVID-19 and information on food and other resources to our CHPs.

Improved Access to Grocery Stores

EHD is exploring ways to improve seniors’ access to grocery stores. This could include volunteer drivers, better information about existing public transit services,  or assistance with ordering groceries for delivery. We worked with GoDurham to help establish a grocery store shuttle for seniors. Learn more on our Healthy Seniors Page.