Voice of the consumer: Making meals, affordable housing available to seniors

Katie Pelton
Katie Pelton(KKTV)
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 7:36 AM MDT
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Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - This week, Silver Key Senior Services is taking part in the 53rd annual March for Meals campaign. The local nonprofit partners with the national Meals on Wheels network, which serves 2.8 million seniors every year.

The annual celebration represents the day in March 1972 when a nationwide nutrition program for seniors was added to the Older Americans Act. This comes at a time when Silver Key is delivering to more older adults in our community than before the pandemic, as well as dealing with high costs.

You may have seen this story on “11 News at Noon.”

“We want to make sure seniors have access to quality, healthy nutrition, and the way we do that is through our Meals on Wheels designation here in the Pikes Peak Region,” said Jason DeaBueno, president and CEO of Silver Key Senior Services. “Through that designation, we have volunteers who take out meals to seniors who otherwise wouldn’t have access to high quality food.”

Silver Key has been seeing an increase in need since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The organization has had a 71% increase in demand for delivered meal services. Last year, Silver Key delivered more than 50,000 meals and served more than 129,000 folks in our community.

“The pandemic did a lot to cause a lot of challenge, but one of the good things that happened is that many of the seniors who are invisible in our community became visible and we realized the amount of need,” said DeaBueno. “So the best way to help our organization is to volunteer. One of the ways that people can volunteer is through our Meals on Wheels program.”

Some local leaders will deliver meals during Community Champions Week from Monday through Wednesday.

The organization also is preparing for the upcoming Silver Key Senior Summit. The forum will take place July 11 at The Antlers downtown and will help connect folks to resources in our area.

“We’re very excited. We had one last year and we had over 1,200 people attend,” said DeaBueno. “We’ve got great support from sponsors, excited clientele saying we want to learn more. We’re making sure to get the word out to caregivers.”

Another exciting project on the horizon is an affordable housing project that begins soon.

“It’s a huge deal. We’re moving forward with a 50-unit affordable housing project. We’re hopeful to break ground in May,” said DeaBueno. “With that, 13 of the units will be for veterans and we are partnered with Next Chapter, which is an organization here in town serving older adult veterans, and also moving forward to serve a broad range of needs for individuals.”

You can find out more information about Silver Key Senior Services and sign up to become a volunteer, or learn more about Meals on Wheels, by calling 719-884-2300, or by visiting silverkey.org.

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.