More than 1 in 5 West Virginia children live in a household that does not have sufficient access to food. Food insecurity in children is associated with nutrient deficiencies, increased risk for obesity, poor health, behavior problems, decreased social skills, and academic failure. School-age children from food insecure households have lower grades, more anxiety and aggression, and higher absenteeism and tardiness. Meanwhile, 28% of people aged 65 and older live alone and are at higher risk of suffering from loneliness, which can lead to poor physical and mental health.
Senator John Unger proposed the Summer Intergeneration Community Strong Initiative as part of his Feed to Achieve Act to help address these dual goals. This innovative, intergenerational interactive initiative brings children and senior citizens together during the summer to foster supportive relationships that build strong, healthy communities year round. Children benefit from a nutritious meal and a caring adult who shows them attention and mentors them. And seniors are given an opportunity to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness by providing a meaningful connection to the community.