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I recently read that there were about 39.6 million Americans 65 and older in 2009. That number grew to 54.1 million by 2019 — almost a 37% increase in just one decade.
That’s just the beginning of the story. The 65-and-over population is projected to reach 80.8 million by 2040 and 94.7 million by 2060. That’s an increase of 139% in just 50 years!
We in the food bank business are not caught off guard by these numbers, but there’s still a lot of work to do. I’m sure you share my passion for ensuring that our elderly neighbors do not go hungry in the coming years … starting with this year!
We’re focusing on seniors in this edition of Food Matters. Please keep the seniors in your own life — including in your community — in mind as you read these stories … and as you consider how best to help. You already know one way to help: by supporting the Food Bank!
Remember: Every $10 helps provide 20 meals.
Thank you for your kindness!
Dan Maher President and CEO
Having to wait in line for more than an hour is not most people’s idea of a good time. But Janice and Sherree are all smiles as they wait in the car for their local mobile pantry to open.
Both manage to get by on limited budgets, and both are super appreciative of the food they’re able to pick up here on a regular basis, making the wait totally worth it.
And they know how to make the food s-t-r-e-t-c-h!
“We don’t believe in wasting any of the food,” says Sherree, who is on disability and lives with her elderly mother. Janice, her neighbor, nods in agreement from the passenger seat.
“Nothing goes to waste,” Sherree continues, explaining that sometimes that means getting a little creative in order to put the food they receive to good use.
“I mean, what Janice can’t think to make, I can. And vice versa. I can look at a recipe and go, ‘Well, I can replace this with that, and add that to that.’”
Janice agrees, explaining that sometimes they look to other friends and neighbors to ensure the items they receive at the food bank do not get wasted. “There’s nothing we can’t use. And we always find somebody who needs it if we can’t use it.”
And this friendship goes far beyond visits to the food pantry. When they return to their homes, Janice and Sherree bond as they cook an ever-growing list of tasty dishes with the food they receive.
The two friends have whipped up dozens of recipes together, including:
• roasted garlic chicken salad
• sauteed bok choy with onion and bacon
• chicken enchiladas
• pickled green beans with chili peppers and garlic
• chicken dumplings
Often, Janice and Sherree make enough food to feed family, coworkers, and friends — passing along the comfort and support that a nourishing meal provides.
They also shared that every time they pull up to the mobile food bank, they can’t wait to see what surprises await in the food box they receive.
“It’s like Christmas every month!” says Janice. “We get giddy!”
“We’re very, very grateful for this food,” adds Sherree. “It gets pretty tight with our budget. Sometimes we have to choose between prescriptions and food. So, this is a life-saving gift for us!”
Your compassion and support help put food on the table for so many on a limited budget. Thank you!
Dorothy, 86, has always enjoyed giving her time to help others. In fact, she began volunteering in her new community almost the moment she arrived there six years ago.
She originally relocated to help start a new church, and began volunteering her time at the local food pantry soon after making the move. She understood the importance of keeping her community strong and wanted to do whatever she could to make sure her neighbors had enough nourishing food to eat.
After four years of volunteer work, Dorothy says her retirement income began to run out. She needed to sell her car in order to pay her bills, and then had to make do with limited transportation options. Before long, grocery prices became too expensive for Dorothy’s budget. That’s when Dorothy’s friends began driving her to the pantry so she could pick up groceries for herself.
“It’s a lifeline for me when the community opens their arms like they have,” she says. Even though Dorothy can’t drive to volunteer anymore, she still finds ways to
give back to her community. She now walks around her neighborhood to meet up with neighbors and offer any help she can give.
“Every little thing makes a difference,” she says.
Your gifts support the local pantries that help neighbors facing hunger. Thank you for doing all you can to help!
Liz spent a significant portion of her adult life serving older people. Now it’s her turn.
For 30 years, Liz worked in housekeeping at a retirement home. When the facility closed, Liz lost her job, and suddenly faced financial insecurity.
Her Social Security income isn’t enough to cover all her expenses; medical costs eat up a large part of her budget, which doesn’t leave much for food and other essentials.
But there’s relief for Liz and her neighbors in her senior living facility. Once a month, a mobile food pantry swings by their building. Staff and volunteers bring food to the residents, distributing fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, and other staples.
“I’m lucky I’m able to get around,” Liz says as she helps a fellow resident in her accessible community.
She also says she’s lucky — and grateful — to receive the food distributions.
“It helps tide me over,” she says.
Thank you for helping to “tide over” seniors on a tight budget.