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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week we're focusing on Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services' MealsPlus program. The agency was a 2018 a winner in the Nutrition category with their program to help older adults access low-cost fresh produce.

The MealsPlus program was created by Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services to provide Salt Lake County's older adults with low-cost fresh produce and access to transportation options. The program delivers farm fresh produce to seniors who receive home-delivered meals. The program also has a Pop-Up farmers market component, which helps seniors at senior centers gain access to fresh produce.
 
The program came into being because of the interactions the AAA's Meals on Wheels staff had with the clients. Since only one meal is delivered each day, which is sometimes the only meal program participants consumed, the AAA team decided to take a look at ways it could provide easy-to-prepare produce to older adults without increasing the program's budget. The program started in 2014 with the Utah State University Extension Horticulture Program, Historic Wheeler Farm, Salt Lake County Jail Horticulture Program and the Green Urban Lunch Box as partners.
 
Today, the program has changed slightly. Fresh produce is no longer delivered to older adults' homes, but rather it is distributed at local senior centers. This was because a large portion of the fresh produce couldn't be prepared at home by the older adults on their own. The program has helped over 3,000 older adults since it first started. 
 
To learn more about the Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services MealPlus program, contact Paul Leggett, Director of Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services, at PLeggett@slco.org
 
To learn more about last year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!

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