LAS VEGAS, NV—In a collaboration that brings together three organizations dedicated to assisting older individuals – Caesars Foundation, AARP Foundation and Meals On Wheels Association of America – a tablet-based Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application assistance program pilot will begin this month with two local Meals on Wheels programs in Hammond, Ind. and Baltimore, Md. The pilot will expand further to include two additional locations in the following months.
Caesars Foundation provided a $150,000 grant to AARP Foundation to assist in funding the project that will utilize local Meals on Wheels programs to reach those who need assistance.
This initiative will use tablet-based technology to assess SNAP eligibility and, where possible, complete and submit applications to receive benefits. AARP Foundation currently facilitates SNAP enrollment in 15 states and has helped more than 20,200 older adults submit their SNAP applications in 2013.
The pilot project will leverage previous expertise to expand AARP Foundation’s reach to a segment of the older adult population that has not yet been involved in the current SNAP initiative, including those with limited mobility who are receiving meals either in their homes or in congregate settings through local Meals on Wheels programs.
“Only one-third of eligible seniors benefit from SNAP due to mobility and technology challenges and widespread myths,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America. “Helping qualified seniors register for SNAP can provide them with a source of income that can be used to purchase groceries and prepared meals from Meals on Wheels programs, enabling us to serve more.”
“Nearly nine million people age 50+ are threatened by hunger every day,” said AARP Foundation president, Lisa Marsh Ryerson. “We are thrilled to be a part of a pilot program that extends SNAP benefits to those eligible, in an easy-to-use digital format. Not only does SNAP help low-income people eat healthier, more nutritious food, SNAP also benefits the economy. Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9 – nearly twice as much – in total community spending.”
The initiative will include SNAP application assistance for older adults living in two communities where Caesars Entertainment operates—Hammond, Ind. and Baltimore, Md. Caesars HERO employee volunteers from both locations will have an opportunity to support local Meals on Wheels programs serving those areas by volunteering to deliver meals and assist where possible in the SNAP enrollment process.
“We’re proud to assist with the SNAP enrollment pilot with AARP Foundation and Meals On Wheels Association of America to be able to reach more older individuals in need,” said Thom Reilly, executive director of Caesars Foundation. “Through this collaboration, we hope to bring needed attention to hunger in the older community.”
Caesars Foundation’s support for organizations who help older individuals live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives has totaled more than $15 million, or 24 percent, of the Foundation’s overall giving since 2002.
Also in 2008 and 2009, Caesars Foundation underwrote groundbreaking research with Meals On Wheels Association of America on the prevalence of senior hunger nationally. The studies, titled "The Causes, Consequences and Future of Senior Hunger in America" and "Senior Hunger in the United States: Differences Across States and Rural and Urban Areas," continue to be referenced by politicians, academics and organizations working in the hunger space today.
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About The Caesars Foundation
The Caesars Foundation is a private foundation funded by a portion of operating income from resorts owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment. The Foundation is the entity through which Caesars Entertainment funds programs and projects of $10,000 or more, as well as not-for-profit giving requirements imposed by certain operating jurisdictions. The Foundation's objective is to strengthen organizations and programs in the communities where our employees and their families live and work. For more information, please visit caesarsfoundation.com, facebook.com/caesarsfoundation, or follow on Twitter @CaesarsFdn.
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is the charitable affiliate of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.
About Meals On Wheels Association of America
The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the only national organization and network dedicated solely to ending senior hunger in America. The Association is the oldest and largest organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 states and U.S. territories. More than 5,000 local Meals on Wheels Programs leverage a dedicated army of two million volunteers who day-in and day-out create an efficient and caring way to help America’s seniors stay independent, healthy and able to live in their own homes. For more information, or to locate a local Meals on Wheels program, visit www.mowaa.org.