So often we hear people talking about the greatest generation – our seniors – who have experienced so may changes during their lifetime. But one change that many seniors did not expect to experience is hunger.
According to a recent Feeding America® study, in the past 20 years, the percent of food- insecure seniors who have limited access to enough food to live a healthy lifestyle increased by 29 percent. In 2020, the study found that out of 76 million seniors, age 60+, 5.2 million (6.8 percent) were food insecure.
Food insecurity does not affect all seniors equally. Their risk of experiencing food insecurity varies by income, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, metropolitan location, employment/disability status, gender, presence of a grandchild in the household, and home ownership status.
When you look at race/ethnicity, food insecurity disproportionately affects many communities of color. For example, the Feeding America study found that food insecurity was more than four times as high among Black seniors and more than three times as high among Latino seniors when compared to white seniors.
So, how can those in this greatest generation that need help putting food on their tables receive the help they need? Harvesters has several programs that can help them.
First – Senior Mobile Food Pantries. Harvesters partners with nonprofit organizations providing social services to at-risk seniors living in low- to moderate-income housing communities to offer mobile food pantries to seniors so they can continue to lead healthy and independent lives. The mobile food pantries offer fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and bread to seniors.
Second – Senior Food Commodities (CSFP). In partnership with the federal government, many of Harvesters’ partner agencies distribute monthly commodity food boxes to low-income seniors through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). The boxes contain shelf-stable items like milk, fruit juice, pasta, rice, peanut butter, and canned meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Third – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides benefits on an EBT card that works like a debit card and allows seniors to purchase food at grocery stores that meets their dietary and cultural needs. Harvesters’ SNAP Outreach Team is available to assist seniors in completing their applications to receive SNAP benefits. Click here for more information.
If you know someone in this greatest generation that needs help, please let them know what is available through Harvesters’ network of partner agencies.