For our neighbors in need, winter is the cruelest season. Heating bills skyrocket, but their wages or social security checks don’t increase.
Seniors in particular are at risk. Too often, they are forced to choose between being warm and having enough food. They skip meals, or don’t renew medical prescriptions. As the winter progresses, it becomes harder and harder for them to stay healthy and active – and that hurts all of us across Eastern Massachusetts.
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) combats the growing problem of hunger among vulnerable seniors with our monthly Brown Bag grocery distributions at 15 partner sites. In 2016, the program provided about 1.5 million pounds of food, including nearly 275,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, to 7,500 seniors in need.
We also administer the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) effort designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of low-income seniors at risk of hunger. Last year, 2,400 older men and women across Eastern Massachusetts received monthly cases of nutritious USDA commodities.
Our third program targeting seniors is GBFB’s outreach and education around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. Many eligible seniors assume they don’t qualify for this critical resource. GBFB’s SNAP coordinator has helped hundreds successfully apply for benefits. It’s just one more way we’re helping seniors extend their grocery budget to avoid facing hunger before the next social security check arrives.
GBFB’s programs for seniors are vital strategies to achieve our objective of a hunger-free Eastern Massachusetts. They’re made possible by the generous and dedicated support of individuals, businesses, foundations, and public and private partners across Eastern Massachusetts and beyond. Together, we are making a difference this cold season for tens of thousands of older members of our community. Together, we are ending hunger here.
President and CEO