Alicia Doyle, VC Star

A record-breaking crowd is expected at the Senior Concerns Love Run, a chip-timed race expected to raise at least $55,000 for Meals on Wheels.

“With the generous support of sponsors, registrants and fantastic fundraising teams, we hope to reach $75,000, which will help us come much closer to covering the costs of this vital community program,” said Andrea Gallagher, president of Senior Concerns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 percent of those 65 and older are malnourished or at risk for malnourishment, and 50 percent of those at risk have yet to be identified.

“This isn’t just a low-income problem,” Gallagher said. “Physical frailty, lack of transportation, aging or medication changes on taste buds and social isolation all contribute to this seriously under-recognized and undertreated condition of older adults.”

Malnourishment leads to problems such as diabetes, depression and repeat hospitalizations, Gallagher said.

“Do you know in some states Meals on Wheels programs have a waiting list? And the average age of participation is 85. How long can they wait? Fortunately through the proceeds of the Love Run, we do not have to put any senior on a waiting list,” Gallagher said.

The run is presented in collaboration with Dole Food Co.

Marty Ordman, vice president of marketing and communications at Dole, said the company has participated in other Senior Concerns events.

“We have all sorts of programs directed at kids, but some seniors are less fortunate or homebound. They need to have nutritious food, and we’re delighted to help out,” Ordman said.

The Love Run 5K/10K is a USA Track & Field-certified chip-timed race, Gallagher said. Star columnist and senior advocate Betty Berry will lead the Betty Berry Brigade, inviting seniors to join her in a one-mile walk.

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