FEMA/HHS Community Mitigation Task Force Sustaining Nutritional Needs for At-Risk Individuals

Millions of Americans rely on a range of at-home and community-based supports and services provided by many government and non-profit organizations to maintain their health and meet their daily nutritional needs. When disasters occur, the critical services that support this community, which include older adults, individuals with disabilities, individuals with acute and chronic health needs, and low-income children and families, are more important than ever. One of these critical services is nutritional programs that provide meals and groceries for all demographics to include infants and young children, and older adults. Normally, nutritional programs take many forms including free and reduced-price school meals, soup kitchens, food pantries, congregate meals at senior centers, subsidies for groceries, as well as home delivered groceries and meals. Due to community mitigation measures currently in place to slow the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many of these community-based and congregate nutritional programs are no longer an option as Americans comply with stay home and self-isolation requirements to protect themselves and others. Additionally, COVID-19 is an infectious disease with particularly severe outcomes for older adults and individuals with certain chronic health conditions.

Due to the conditions of COVID-19, demand for meal-delivery and pick-up has increased significantly. To the extent possible, local nutritional programs have adapted their approach to exceed their normal operating capacity for providing grab-and-go or delivery options. This document provides information to close potential gaps to address unmet nutritional requirements for at-risk individuals by outlining creative practices, possible resources, and potential partners for sustaining nutritional needs of at-risk individuals.