In Gleaners’ 21-county service area, more than 50,000 senior citizens are faced with food insecurity. Living on fixed incomes with increasing medical expenses, prescription costs and the high cost of assisted-living and long-term care, seniors are among the most vulnerable we serve.
According to Feeding America, the rate of hunger among those age 60+ has increased by 45% since 2001. This rapid rise has led to a bleak situation for an aging population.
- 63% of seniors report having to choose between food and medical care.
- Food insecure seniors have a higher rate of diabetes (41%) and high blood pressure (70%) – conditions that can be positively impacted by healthy food options, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
- SNAP assistance for seniors is vital as only 42% of those eligible enroll in this program.
We asked seniors visiting the Hancock County Senior Mobile Pantry what this food distribution meant to them. Here is a sampling of what they said:
I am 82 and lost my husband 2 yrs ago. We had $150,000 saved, but it took all of it for the nursing home for him. This food helps me so very much. I thank you. – Joyce S.
I had a heart attack and cannot work. You help our family so much. - Unsigned
Thanks for all you do for the senior citizens. Social Security only goes so far, and many like me have to choose between heat or food. It is so very much appreciated. – Mary
I’m so thankful for Gleaners, as my medical bills are high. I don’t have money for food and I do not qualify for assistance. I am diabetic and my insulin is 33% of what I have each month. I am so thankful for the help you give. May God bless Gleaners and everyone who helps. – Penny
When you’re on Social Security, it helps because I’ve lost my husband and his pay. It really makes it hard to pay for house and utilities and have anything left for food. This helps a great deal and I appreciate it. – Deb T.
It has been a great help to get this food. The money has been extra short with a lot of medical expenses. Thank you so much. - Unsigned
We are so grateful for the loving kindness of the people who work and donate their resources to the food bank. My wife is diabetic and we just cannot afford her medicine and buy groceries. I am physically and mentally disabled, and all my Social Security Income goes to her care. Thank you. – John F.