Leaders Unite to Support Older Adults: Santa Cruz County Officials Join Meals on Wheels for Community Champions Week

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. — Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, a program of Community Bridges, is proud to announce its participation in Community Champions Week, taking place March 18-22. This nationwide campaign aims to raise awareness of critical services addressing isolation, food insecurity, and poverty among older adults. 

Community Champions Week sees local leaders stepping up to make a difference, and Santa Cruz County’s elected officials are no exception. Participating Champions will be accompanying meal deliveries and assisting at senior dining sites throughout Santa Cruz County.  

The 2024 roster of participating officials includes (listed in alphabetical order): 

  • Yvette Brooks, Vice Mayor, Capitola 
  • Casey Clark, Watsonville City Council 
  • Jack Dilles, City Councilman, Scotts Valley 
  • Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, District 2 
  • Ramon Gomez, from the office of Felipe Hernandez, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, District 4 
  • Manu Koenig, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, District 1 

For a list of dates, times, and locations of deliveries and senior dining sites, contact Community Bridges Marketing and Communications Manager Tony Nunez at tonyn@cbridges.org or (831) 688-8840 x285.  

This initiative, spearheaded by Meals on Wheels America, aims to shed light on the vital role of nutrition and human connection in the lives of older adults. With the older adult population in Santa Cruz County experiencing remarkable growth, compounded by soaring living costs, the need for support is more urgent than ever. 

Statistics reveal a stark reality: 65% of the nearly 1,600 seniors served by Meals on Wheels in Santa Cruz County every day are living below the poverty line. In addition, 53% live alone, 58% are at high nutritional risk, 54% are disabled, and 14% speak only Spanish. The escalating rates of malnutrition-related deaths and the prevalence of senior isolation underline the pressing health challenges facing our community. 

Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County is uniquely equipped to address these challenges. Unlike other food assistance programs, we deliver ready-to-eat meals directly to seniors’ homes, ensuring access for those with disabilities who cannot prepare meals themselves. Our services extend beyond nourishment; we conduct regular wellness checks and facilitate access to additional health resources, offering vital support to our most vulnerable citizens. 

Community Champions Week serves as a rallying cry for support, highlighting the indispensable role of organizations like Meals on Wheels in safeguarding the health, dignity, and independence of seniors in Santa Cruz County. 

ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS FOR SANTA CRUZ COUNTY 

Since 1976, Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, a program of Community Bridges, has served nearly 10 million meals to 75,000 local seniors in need. Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County serves 1,600 seniors in need each year with nutritious meals and caring human contact. The tireless work of this program—supported by a dedicated army of 80 volunteers—allows thousands of Santa Cruz County residents to remain healthy, safe, and independent in their own homes. 

ABOUT COMMUNITY BRIDGES 

Community Bridges envisions a thriving community where every person has the opportunity to unleash their full potential. Together, our family of programs delivers essential services, provides equitable access to resources, and advocates for health and dignity across every stage of life. To learn more, please visit www.communitybridges.org. 

The Community Bridges family of programs includes the Child & Adult Care Food Program, Child Development Division, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), La Manzana Community Resources, Live Oak Community Resources, Mountain Community Resources, Nueva Vista Community Resources, Elderday Adult Day Health Care, Lift Line and Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County. 

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