A special NATIONAL HUNGER AWARENESS MONTH series
The number of seniors facing hunger has doubled since 2001.
One in 12 seniors experiences hunger in our community, but one in six is on the brink of hunger and is making tough choices.
We all know hunger is bad. But often we forget what it means for people. For seniors it means foregoing necessary medication, eating low-nutrient foods, skipping meals.
All of that takes a toll in the price of health. Seniors who face food insecurity or more likely to have a heart attack, diabetes, and limited ability to perform daily activities as you can see in this shocking graph.
Here are some resources for the seniors in your life, as well as a few ways you can stand up to end Senior Hunger.
Programs for Seniors:
SNAP/Food Stamps: Many seniors are eligible for federal food stamp benefits. In Pennsylvania, families with someone over the age of 59 are allowed to qualify for food stamps with higher incomes and more savings. Last year, seniors made up almost 30% of our SNAP application assistance clients. Learn more about how to apply.
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program: The federal SFMNP program provides seniors with four $5 vouchers ($20 total) that can be used to purchase food at local farmers markets. This year they will be distributed at senior centers on June 17, 2014. Learn more here.
Senior Boxes (CSFP): This is a federal program that buys an assortment of shelf-stable foods including canned vegetables, fruit and juice, protein, pasta and cereal. In Allegheny County, these boxes are distributed through local food pantries. To find out which pantry is right for you, contact the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank at 412-460-3663, ext. 268
Meals on Wheels: These are home-delivered meals with a fee based on your income. According to the Meals on Wheels Association, every dollar invested in Meals on Wheels can save up to $50 in Medicaid spending. To learn about receiving Meals on Wheels, contact the Area Agency on Aging at: 412-350-5460
Urge Congress to increase funding for Older Americans Act programs, including Meals on Wheels and congregate meals (via MAZON).
Volunteer with Just Harvest and help make sure seniors in our area are getting the food stamp benefits and fresh food access they need.