More seniors turning to Treasure Coast Food Bank for assistance.
FORT PIERCE, Fla. – May 8, 2023 – This month marks the 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month, a time each year to honor the nation’s seniors and the contributions they’ve made to the country, but sadly, many of the nation’s seniors are finding it especially hard to make ends meet.
In April, Feeding America released The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2021 report, which showed 5.5 million seniors aged 60 or older in the United States, or 7.1%, were food insecure in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available. Food insecurity among both seniors and older adults remains higher than prior to the Great Recession.
This year, with consumer inflation up roughly 7%, more Americans are seeking assistance from community resources nationwide, but on the Treasure Coast, older Floridians are turning to Treasure Coast Food Bank for assistance.
“The past year has been especially difficult for seniors,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “Many of our seniors whose limited budgets might have afforded them a comfortable life in the past are finding themselves squeezed by the high cost of food. We’re seeing many seniors seek help for the first time in their lives.”
Each month, Treasure Coast Food Bank provides thousands of food boxes to low-income seniors, many of them making less than $30,000 per year, to help them supplement their monthly groceries. Treasure Coast Food Bank also has been helping more seniors apply for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Between 2021 and 2022, Treasure Coast Food Bank saw a 53% increase in the number of seniors served at its Your Plate Health & Wellness Center in Fort Pierce, a program that provides individuals and families with the tools they need to achieve independence, health and financial stability. In the past months, seniors have listed the rising cost of food as their main reason for applying for SNAP benefits. According to a recent report, 46% of seniors are worried their income will not be enough to meet their monthly expenses for the next five to 10 years, and 32% of seniors are unable to pay for unexpected expenses.
Treasure Coast Food Bank works with senior resource organizations and housing developments to provide mobile distributions and food boxes monthly. The Market Fresh on the Move mobile grocery store also targets low-income senior communities to provide another outlet for them to obtain food. In addition, the food bank offers a Commodity Supplemental Food Program and training and nutrition courses to further educate members of the community.
The health and well-being of thousands of Treasure Coast older Americans is a priority of Treasure Coast Food Bank. To support those facing hunger on the Treasure Coast, visit stophunger.org/give. If you need food assistance, or to learn more about Treasure Coast Food Bank’s programs, go to www.stophunger.org.
FAST FACTS: When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, then called Senior Citizens Month, the cost of a loaf of bread was about 29 cents; a pound of bacon was 59 cents, as was a coffee 59 cents. Today’s prices are around $1.93 for a loaf of bread; $6.80 for bacon; and $6.18 for a pound of coffee, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
ABOUT TREASURE COAST FOOD BANK
Treasure Coast Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization on Florida’s Treasure Coast, providing the community each year with millions of meals valued at more than $50 million through robust programs and in partnership with 300 charitable organizations in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties. In addition to emergency food distribution, Treasure Coast Food Bank operates a full roster of direct service programs that not only solve the immediate problem of hunger, but help individuals and families gain long-term food security, better health outcomes, and self-sufficiency. Treasure Coast Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. For more information on Treasure Coast Food Bank, stophunger.org or follow us @TCFoodbank on Facebook or Twitter.