Each year Second Harvest works to find ways to distribute food to the growing segment of Older Adults who are food insecure in our region. We are now distributing nearly 725 Senior Boxes per month compared to the 284 per month that we served at the beginning of this program three years ago. In our region, nearly 15% (10,300 people) of those we serve are seniors and the numbers keep rising.A recent study highlights some interesting trends.
Feeding America reports that nearly 13 million adults over the age of 50 are served at our shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens across America. Nearly 64% of Older Adults in client households plan to go to get food from partner charities this year. Most Seniors are adapting coping strategies to avoid this:• 77% are trying to buy the cheapest food options available• 46% receive help from families and friends• 38% water down food and drink to make it stretch
Nearly 1 in 5 older adult households include grandchildren. Of these households, 77% live in poverty and 88% of them are food insecure.
Second Harvest distributes the Senior Boxes monthly to 18 partner programs throughout our region which include places like the Eris County Senior Center, Viewpoint and Harborview in Sandusky; the Reserves in Huron and the Lorain County Office on Aging. More than half of these distributions occur through a delivery system since transportation is also a big issue with seniors. Oberlin Community Services has been instrumental in distributing Senior Boxes throughout southern Lorain County.
On May 2, we joined forces with other sponsoring partners at the Statehouse in Columbus for Senior Advocacy Day. The purpose of this day was for training as well as to meet with our state senators and representatives to encourage them to restore the allocation for the Senior Community Block Grant (ALI 490-411) which will provide home-delivered and congregate meals for seniors and to fund an initiaitve providing Ohio-grown produce and shelf stable food to Ohio seniors.
For more information about this initiative contact Beverly Lizanich, the Director of Program and Member Services at Second Harvest. If you would like to encourage support for this action, contact Senator Gayle Manning’s office by email or at 614-644-7613 to let your voice be heard. Senator Manning, who is from our region, has been a great proponent of this effort.
Director of External Affairs