Wednesday, May 11, 2011


After a lifetime of work, many seniors are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between paying for healthcare or prescriptions and buying groceries.

Because seniors often need the medication to maintain their health, many elderly Americans must forgo the foods they need to stay healthy. Limited mobility and dependence on outside assistance makes seniors particularly vulnerable to hunger. Food insecurity among this vulnerable population is especially troublesome because they have unique nutritional needs and may require special diets for medical conditions.

According to Hunger in America 2010, among client households with seniors, 30 percent have had to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care. Many food banks, like the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, operate mobile pantries or partner with food transport organizations to get food to those seniors that need it most.

With widespread community support we are working with Feeding America to ensure that seniors in need are provided with nutritious food. But charity alone cannot solve senior hunger in our community. In addition to generous private donations, we rely on federal programs, like the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), to supply 2,319 nutritious monthly food packages to low-income seniors, and help connect seniors to other programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to ensure they have groceries to last them through the month. As elected officials make decisions about state and federal budgets, it’s important that our community know that many of our seniors right here in Grand Rapids rely on both federal nutrition programs and food banks to get by each month.

Together, we can provide hope to hungry Americans.

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