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For Release:
October 16, 2009

Heather Howard

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Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding Keeps Senior Lunch Program Open in North Brunswick


NORTH BRUNSWICK – Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard today met with seniors and local officials at the North Brunswick Senior Center to discuss the local impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on senior nutrition programs.


The State received more than $2.7 million in ARRA funding to support an expansion of senior nutrition services statewide.  Middlesex County used part of its share of $216,492 to keep the meal program open at the North Brunswick Senior Center. The site serves more than 40 seniors five nutritious midday meals each week.


“During this economic downturn, too many seniors are finding themselves with less money to take care of basic needs like food, housing and basic medical care,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine.  “This recovery funding from the federal government helps put food on the table for our seniors in their time of need.”


According to Commissioner Howard, a total of 13,491 new individuals have been thus far served meals across New Jersey since the ARRA funding was distributed in April, including 9,531 new persons with meals at senior centers and other community sites as well as 3,960 new persons with home delivered meals. Thanks to the new stimulus dollars, 28 new senior nutrition sites were created, 18 sites were kept open and 35 sites have expanded operations.


          Howard said New Jersey’s Senior Nutrition Program is an important resource to help older adults remain in their homes and communities with services rather than be cared for in nursing homes. “In order to do this for our elders, we need to increase support for home and community-based services, like nutrition. Good nutrition and good health are keys to successful aging.’’


New Jersey’s Senior Nutrition Program, which has congregate and home delivered meal components, currently provides 6 million meals to 63,000 seniors each year.  Congregate meals are those provided in a central location such as a senior center or community hall.  Home delivered meals are reserved for those who cannot leave their homes due to failing health.


“Our goal of serving tens of thousands of meals to more seniors this year through ARRA funding is being realized today in congregate meal sites like this one in North Brunswick and at the tables of homebound seniors statewide,” said Howard.


          Governor Corzine announced receipt of ARRA funding in mid-May.  The funding is part of $100 million being made available for senior nutrition services nationwide by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Nationally, ARRA is providing $65 million for congregate meals, $32 million for home delivered meals and $3 million for Native American nutrition programs.


Of the ARRA nutrition funds distributed to New Jersey, the 21 county-based Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) have received $1.9 million to be used for congregate nutrition programs and $914,259 for home delivered meals. The funding distributed to each AAA was made in accordance with a formula developed and implemented by the AoA.


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