UNF and Humana Expand Meals on Wings Program to Lehman College

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Students preparing food on a work table in a kitchen
Students prepare food in Lehman's cooking lab.

Lehman College is partnering with the University of North Florida (UNF) and Humana Inc., a leading health and well-being company, to bring UNF's innovative Meals on Wings program to the Bronx. The Meals on Wings program addresses food and nutrition insecurity among older adults and provides a solution to the persistent hunger problem in this population. The program will also expand to the University of Kentucky.

The UNF Center for Nutrition and Food Security developed the Meals on Wings program to recover food from area hospitals that would normally be wasted and repackage into healthy, balanced meals, which are delivered to older adults on the waitlist for Meals on Wheels.

Nearly 1 in 12 older adults faces food insecurity with malnutrition, which can exacerbate chronic conditions and result in a tremendous burden to the healthcare system. Meals on Wings, with the support of Humana, aims to address the nation’s hunger problem by getting food assistance to more older adults through program expansion.

With guidance from UNF Meals on Wings program staff, Lehman’s program will be piloted this summer with a group older adults in the Bronx. A full roll-out with an expanded client base is planned for Fall 2023.

Overseeing the initiative at Lehman is Associate Professor Kate G. Burt, undergraduate director of the Dietetics, Foods, and Nutrition program, who received seed grants from UNF and Humana to bring Meals on Wings to the College. She has adapted it for implementation in the Bronx community, working with local providers to source food. Not only will the initiative bring sustenance to food-insecure individuals in the area, it will also provide a comprehensive learning experience for Lehman students.

“All of the students enrolled in Lehman’s Dietetics, Foods, and Nutrition program as Culinary and Community Nutrition majors will participate in serving the community through this program,” said Burt. “They will gain hands-on experience managing a community food program; recovering food that would otherwise be wasted; and preparing foods that embrace culture, while making connections and supporting Bronx seniors.”

The College is partnering with BronxWorks, a community-based organization that provides wrap-around social services to Bronx residents, to identify recipients and deliver meals. Corbin Hill Food Project, a community-supported network of minority-owned regional farms, will provide fresh produce.

“The expansion of our Meals on Wings program into two more communities will allow more older adults access to healthy food and help address food insecurity issues in these areas,” said Dr. Curt Lox, dean of the UNF Brooks College of Health. “We are excited to work with both the University of Kentucky and Lehman College, as these institutions have the necessary foundational elements in place to allow this program to be successful and impactful in their communities.”

Learn more about Meals on Wings at UNF’s Center for Nutrition and Food Security.