In respect for the nearly 188,000 Hoosiers age 60 and older living below or just above the poverty line, I urge you to reach out to your local food bank and help those at risk of hunger.
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 they often need the medication to maintain their health, many elderly Hoosiers 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 the first statewide study on hunger and food banks, Hunger in America 2010: Indiana State Report, among client households with seniors, 25 percent have had to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care. 29 percent reported choosing between paying for food and paying for heat or utilities.
The food banks near you depend on your generosity to ease these seniors’ burdens. The member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry serve more than 38,000 seniors aged 65 and older each year, and partner with local meals on wheels programs and other food transport organizations to get food to those seniors that need it most. In addition, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry member food banks have senior brown bag programs, senior meal delivery, or participate in federal programs that focus on senior hunger. All of these food banks are members of Feeding America, the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the country. Through its network of more than 200 member food banks, Feeding America serves more than 37 million hungry Americans annually, including nearly 3 million seniors.
To find out how you can join the fight against hunger in Indiana, please visit www.feedingindianashungry.org to find a food bank near you. Together, we can provide hope to hungry Hoosiers.
Emily Weikert Bryant is the executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc., the state association of food banks.