A study conducted by Meals on Wheels Association of America found that in 2010 8.3 million seniors in the United States faced hunger. More than 1 in 7 or 14.85% of all seniors experienced some form of food insecurity.
Often times not being aware that help is available, believing certain stigmas connected to those who need help, or just plain pride can get in the way of a senior getting the assistance they need.
One of the biggest hurdles seniors might face in accepting the help is that in the past those needing hunger assistance fell into certain categories: single mothers, homeless, those living in the inner city, etc. The economy has changed the face of hunger. The majority of seniors who will face hunger in 2012 have incomes one to two times above the federal poverty line. Seniors living in a rural area or in a non-metro area have significantly higher risks for hunger than their counterparts living in urban areas.
Another concern that seniors have is that they are just going to get a random box of food and will have no choice in what they will be given.
Here in Green Valley, we have the Green Valley-Sahuarita Community Food Bank. To maintain a sense of dignity and pride the food bank is organized like any grocery store. The food is grouped with like items on shelves, and those coming in can pick and choose the type of food that they or their family are interested in.
There are many great programs available to seniors to help with food assistance, below are just a few along with some resources on how to calculate online if your loved one qualifies for federal programs to help cover food costs.
For those of you lucky to have enough to eat consider volunteering, hosting a food drive at the office, or inviting a neighbor to join you for a meal. It's a great way to stay connected to the community, boost your own health, and remind those in need that they are not alone.