Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Micah's Backpack for Senior Adults

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we’ll feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

In part six of our series, we feature Micah’s Backpack for Senior Adults, a project idea of 14-year-old Olivia Hodge with the assistance of St. Michael Lutheran Church in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Read parts onetwo, three, four and five.)

Driven by her care for hungry people, Olivia Hodge’s idea for Micah’s Backpack for Senior Adults was inspired by Micah’s Backpack for Students, a program she participated in for the last four years, providing weekend meals to students in her community.

“Each week 50 to 70 youth and adults, ranging from 4 to 80 years old, gather to pack and distribute backpacks for local schools,” Hodge explained.

The nature of the open source program allows participants to share their opinions and help refine it.

A similar approach would be applied to a backpack-style program for the elders living in a local 144 apartment HUD Housing Project.

“Around the 20th of each month, teams of youth and adults will go to each of the three apartment buildings and spend about an hour distributing food and socializing with residents,” Hodge noted. “The teams would distribute items like soup, crackers, peanut butter and oatmeal to help the recipients bridge the gap until their next social security check.”

In addition to St. Michael Lutheran Church, this project’s potential partners would include Warm Hearth Village, the local chapter of the AARP, the Agency on Aging, and Retired Senior Volunteers Programs in addition to other local faith groups and Virginia Tech’s student groups.

“Our goal,” as Hodge put it, “is to build a community partnership that will work to alleviate senior hunger.”

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet them to #cooligideas, post them to our Facebook Group, Intergenerational Connections? If you're a Youth Jumpstart Grantee, share your ideas in here or text us through Facebook's Messenger app by friending me to join our Cool Intergenerational Ideas group discussion. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration

1 comment:

Shannon Jarrott said...

I have volunteered with Micah's Backpack food program for both the seniors and the children. It's been a hallmark program in Blacksburg, VA, enlisting the help of hundreds of middle schoolers, high schoolers, university students, and others to collect, sort, bag, and deliver food throughout the year. I appreciate that there are several different roles for volunteers so that just about anyone can find a time commitment and task that fits their talents and interests. The group has successfully combined volunteer work with collections of donations and grant writing to increase their reach to include pre-schoolers and now older adults. Thank you St. Michael's Lutheran, Jennie Hodge, and Micah's!