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  2002 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jan Costello
Phone: 217-785-9020, TTY: 1-800-252-8966

March 11, 2002

Department on Aging Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Nutrition Program

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber encourages Illinoisans of all ages to help celebrate March for Meals Week in Illinois March 11–15, 2002, which was proclaimed by Governor George H. Ryan to bring attention to statewide meal programs serving seniors.

"The month of March signifies the 30th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program," said Schreiber. "The meal programs are cost–effective by allowing older people to stay in their own homes and communities and avoid much more costly long term care."

When the program began 30 years ago in Illinois, there were more than 260 meal sites in 95 counties, serving 13,500 nutritious meals per day, five days a week, at little or no cost to seniors.

Schreiber said in FY 2002, the Illinois Department on Aging expects to serve over 45,000 seniors with over 7.4 million home-delivered meals. Over 86,000 seniors with 3.5 million group meals served at community sites such as senior centers, senior housing facilities and community buildings.

"I have often said that a home-delivered meal is more than food," Schreiber said. "It is about promoting health and socialization."

The Nutrition Program is funded through the Illinois Department on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging through a combination of federal and state funds. Nutrition and health programs were a focus of the 1999 Governorís Summit on Aging, and Governor Ryan subsequently boosted the Departmentís budget to provide more equipment for nutrition programs throughout the state and to reduce waiting lists for seniors seeking meals.

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For more information, call the Illinois Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).




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