Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Social Affairs Ministry will work to improve the Food for the Elderly program, which will be undertaken from July to December this year, by empowering community groups.

"So far, the elderly (who are living alone) are fed by neighbors participating in pengajian (communal Quran reading)," Director General of Social Rehabilitation at the ministry Pepen Nazaruddin informed at the Salemba 28 Forum here on Friday.

Under the Food for Elderly program, the ministry will choose local community groups to help feed elderly people who live alone. The ministry will transfer monetary assistance to the groups. The money will be used for cooking food, and the food will be provided to old people.

The menu served will be based on the recommendation of nutritionists.

"The menu must contain rice or other carbohydrates, side dishes containing animal or vegetable proteins, fruits, and mineral water. In addition, the food must be hygienic," he informed.

He said that the elderly food program this year is a continuation of last year’s program for which a budget of Rp21 thousand per day was allocated. The budget allocation has been increased this year to Rp30 thousand for two meals per day, and will be provided for six months—from July till December.

During the six-month period, the ministry will monitor the community groups and work on finding solutions to make the food program sustainable.

According to Nazaruddin, the program will focus on elderly people who live alone because those who reside with their families are receiving assistance under the Family Hope Program (PKH).

He emphasized that the ministry will continue to supervise the use of the budget allocated for the program and cooperate with law enforcement officials.

"In the field, it is our responsibility. We have met with the community groups several times, and we will see how they run this program," he said.

In addition, the ministry will also conduct monitoring through the Social Welfare Information System (SIKS) application for ease of supervision.

"The community groups will take photos during cooking activities or food delivery," he said.

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Translator: Lintang P, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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