Senior Citizen Food Assistance Programs
Statistics reflect that senior citizens in America are facing a serious hunger crisis. A study from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) uncovered the fact that a third of all seniors have reported scaling down the size of their meals, skipping meals altogether, or buying cheap, unhealthy food, because they often do not have enough money to eat properly.
Many of us are not okay with senior hunger. The reality pointed out above is highly disturbing to me, and I am sure it is the same for others who care for the welfare of even strangers. I cannot imagine my mother, grandmother, great aunts or any of the senior citizens in my life being hungry and unable to feed themselves...therein lies the motivation for this article.
If you know or even suspect that a senior citizen you are familiar with is struggling to feed themselves, please feel free to utilize these resources or share this information with them.
Resources for Senior Citizen Food Assistance
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is probably the first food resource that comes to mind when most of us think about food assistance programs for senior citizens.
Meals on Wheels provides prepared meals to more than one million people per day and they distribute those meals to seniors in communal living facilities and directly to the homes of seniors who are homebound. You can use the following link to Find the Local Meals on Wheels Program in your area.
Medicaid Home Food Delivery
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 provided a mechanism for the federal government, under the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicaid, to establish the Home and Community Based Care Services program (HCBS).
The program chiefly provides waivers for meals, but there is a stipulation for seniors and disabled persons to be able to qualify for home food delivery programs. Unlike the Meals on Wheels programs, these meals are delivered either fresh, frozen, or shelf-stable.
The Medicaid food delivery services can be daily, every other day or weekly, according to the needs of the participant. There are multiple programs under the umbrella of Medicaid that have financial, as well as non-financial requirements.
Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program
The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides federal grants to each state, so they can provide access to locally sourced fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs. The program is meant to help low-income seniors and it is to be used at farmers' markets, roadside stands and community focused agricultural programs.
Click the link to locate and contact the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program organizations in your area.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a federally funded initiative with the goal of enhancing the health of low-income people who are at least 60 years of age.
The program seeks to supplement the diets of its target demographic with nutritious U. S. Department of Agriculture foods (USDA). The USDA distributes both food and administrative funds to participating states and Indian Tribal Organizations to operate. You can find your local CSFP program online.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the biggest provider of food assistance to the general population in the United States.
The SNAP program is designed for people with low income, and many senior citizens may well be eligible, even though some people falsely believe their income will disqualify them. It never hurts to apply for the program, because you may be able to receive at lease some assistance, if not the full benefit.
Long gone are the days when people had to deal with food coupons attached to booklets and glaring stares of disapproval from shoppers who tended to judge people with low income. Today, the food stamp or SNAP program works with an EBT card, which is much like any other debit card.
Please click the following link, if you or someone you know is a senior citizen seeking to qualify for your local (statewide) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Additional Senior Citizen Nutrition Assistance Resources
- Next Steps to Better Nutrition Program | NCOA
The Next Steps to Better Nutrition program teaches older adults how they can afford, purchase, and cook healthy foods.
- Findafoodpantry.org | Online Directory of Food Pantries
A searchable directory of over 10000 food pantries across the United States.
- Healthy, Low Cost Recipes | Hunger and Health
Browse their selection of nutritious, low cost recipes that can be made with ingredients commonly found at local food banks.
- Feeding America Senior Nutrition Guide
The Senior Nutrition Guide is designed for program directors to better understand how to to address the nutritional needs of the senior citizens they serve by promoting appropriate meal program planning.
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations | USDA-FNS
The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) provides USDA Foods to income-eligible households living on Indian reservations and to Native American households residing in designated areas near reservations or in Oklahoma.