This May, we celebrate Older Americans Month. We are honored to be able to help some of our seniors supplement their food needs for the month by administering the federally-funded Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) or Senior Box Program.
Feeding America's nationwide network of food banks participates in the movement. We do this by raising awareness and showing support for the seven million seniors we serve, the 1 in 12 seniors who face hunger in our country, and the nearly 750,000 seniors who volunteer each month at Feeding America network food pantries and meal programs across the country.
Our involvement in the Senior Box Program began just over a year ago and we have nearly doubled the number of boxes we are authorized to distribute. We are now distributing 436 boxes of nutritious food per month through our network. At present, seven of our partner charities participate in the distribution process at several different sites throughout Lorain County. The purpose is to supplement the food and nutritional needs of those seniors. The program is so popular that there is a waiting list of seniors hoping to participate.
One senior receiving a monthly box of food told us that she was in her mid-80s and still worked as a receptionist part-time. This was the first time in her life that she had to rely on help to get by. She receives $14-$16 per month on SNAP. What she appreciates most is that she knows that she can count on getting shelf-stable milk and dry milk each month.
Food insecurity is particularly detrimental to seniors because of their unique nutritional needs related to aging and medical conditions. As such, we know seniors facing hunger are at increased risk for chronic health conditions like depression (60%), heart attack (53%), asthma (52%) and congestive heart failure (40%).
Beverly Lizanich heads Programs and Member Services at Second Harvest and coordinates this program. “The seniors that we have talked to really love this program,” she states. “It is very uplifting to speak to them because they are so genuinely appreciative of the help.”
To celebrate Older American Month, learn more, do more. Check out our website article on the Senior Box Program here. Consider volunteering at Second Harvest. Click here for more information. Blaze a trail!
Director of External Affairs