Meals on Wheels
RSVP volunteers serve with Shawnee Meals on Wheels and Johnson County Human Services to provide daily scheduled meal deliveries and social interaction for home-bound adults.
The number of people now living below the poverty line in Johnson County grew by 26% creating a greater need for services. Census records show that 11.3% of households in Johnson County live below the poverty line. Mid America Regional Council survey data supports that older and disabled adults who live in their own home and have acceptable nutritional health standards are more likely to remain independent than those not receiving proper nutrition. As people age, chronic illness and conditions often limit abilities to perform routine tasks such as preparing regular meals. For home-bound older and disabled adults, daily home delivered meals may be the only nutritious meal they eat. Delivery of those meals is often their only daily social contact.
RSVP volunteers participate in food distribution through Shawnee Community Services, and Catholic Charities Food Pantry. They also assist with the selection of healthy menu items with Johnson County Human Services and Aging.
Dramatic increase in Food Insecurity within the school districts of Johnson County indicates that more than 24,000 children have been classified as Food Insecure. Sometime during each month their family is at risk of hunger. It is also reported that 90% of the time any food stamps provided are depleted by the third week of the month. For these families the importance of Food Banks and Food Pantries is increasing. Without this option many families would be forced to eliminate meals, severely limiting their nutritional intake. Emergency food providers are witnessing an unprecedented increase in parents who regularly depend on their services to feed their children and themselves, as well as an increase in individuals who need access to food assistance.
RSVP volunteers provide companionship for older adults on a flexible schedule of 2 to 4 hours per week. In addition, respite will be provided for caregivers of older adults on a flexible schedule with hours to be determined by mutual agreement with the caregivers themselves. Volunteers will carry out these activities at Villa St. Francis, Lake View Village, Shawnee Mission Medical Center and Overland Park Regional Medical Center.
Companionship for home-bound adults and respite for caregivers Kansas Healthy Communities Institute reports that 29% of older adults in Johnson County live alone in their family homes or in homes or apartments within retirement communities. They are at risk of social isolation, limited access to support or inadequate assistance in emergency situations. One quarter of those living alone live in poverty and report poor health. In some instances their status necessitates moving to retirement communities that provide more affordable housing options, which enhances their ability to live independently and to age in place. Even this change does not assure positive daily social contact. Volunteers who provide companionship through scheduled and informal visits offer the best hope for breaking the cycle of feelings of isolation, depression and loneliness. Companionship visits are critical for home-bound older and disabled adults. Caregivers of older adults often report fatigue, depression and become ill themselves. Respite for these caregivers is vital for their own health and well being.