How Feeding America Is Trying to Solve Senior Hunger
Many seniors want to remain independent as long as possible, and some even continue to be contributing members of society by finding new work opportunities or volunteering within the community. However, it can be difficult for seniors to find sustainable income, and after the age of retirement, most tend to live on a fixed income.
This may be fine for seniors that have planned for retirement, that manage their money wisely, and that have no unanticipated expenses, but this situation could easily change. Even with smart planning and sound financial management strategies, seniors are at high risk of encountering health issues that could eat into their savings.
Reductions in savings could lead to dire situations in which seniors are forced to sell a family home and downsize, but even this might not be enough. This is where the problem of senior hunger comes into play, and Feeding America is working to try to solve this disturbing trend.
Closing the SNAP Gap
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a government-provided benefit designed to ensure that low-income individuals and families have access to proper nutrition. Unfortunately, only 41% of seniors who are eligible to participate actually take advantage of SNAP benefits.
This could be due to the fact that they simply aren’t aware of the program, that they don’t realize they’re eligible, or that the laborious process of filling out paperwork proves too complex and tedious for some seniors to complete. The result is that nearly 60% of seniors eligible for SNAP benefits aren’t using them.
Feeding America works to encourage outreach and awareness within senior communities by providing the elderly and family members with information and resources so that they know about SNAP and they’re able to apply for the program and receive the benefits they’re eligible for.
Ending Food Waste
Food waste in America is a huge problem, but one with a simple solution. What if the food that is wasted could be used to feed hungry Americans, including seniors? Each year, we lose 72 billion pounds or perfectly edible food, not including waste within private homes, amounting to a loss of about $218 billion worth of food that could go to hungry children, adults, and seniors.
Feeding America is partnering with farms, food manufacturers, and businesses like grocery stores, restaurants, and institutions to collect surplus food, get it to local food banks, and deliver it to individuals and families in need through programs like those that deliver nutritious meals to seniors. Last year, the organization was able to reroute about 2.8 billion pounds of food away from landfills and get it to those in need.
Improving Food Security
Can you even imagine a situation in which you have to decide between spending limited funds on food, heating, or needed medication? Some seniors make these awful choices every day, and nutrition gets put on the back burner.
Through research, raising awareness, fundraising, working to end food waste, and generally advocating on behalf of food-insecure Americans, Feeding America is taking strides toward solving hunger in needy communities, including among senior citizens. Best of all, the organization provides options for anyone to get involved to help their senior loved ones and others in order to improve food security in America.
If your senior loved one needs help at home, including preparing meals, enlisting the help of an in-home caregiver can give you peace of mind knowing that someone is there to watch out for your loved ones well-being. Call Family Matters In-Home Care for a free consultation to see how we can support your family.