Food insecurity is particularly damaging to seniors in the community


Food insecurity is an already chronic problem in countless American cities. Like many health-related issues however, it comes with a slew of other specific implications for the elderly. To name a few, seniors facing hunger are at a 53 percent higher risk of heart attack and a 52 percent higher risk of developing asthma (Spotlight on Senior Health). 

This is not a problem that is going away any time soon in our communities without direct attention to it. According to Feeding America and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, between 2001 and 2011, the number of seniors facing food insecurity doubled to 4.8 million. Even more recently, the National Council on Aging reported that in 2014, the number of seniors facing hunger had risen 119 percent since 2001. 

Today, a majority of seniors rely on Social Security as their largest source of income (AARP). With social security benefits averaging about $1300/month in January 2016, access to quality food is not something guaranteed to senior citizens who depend completely on Social Security to survive. Given the baby boomer generation is living longer and longer, it is important to stay wary of the growing number of seniors facing hunger in the community. 

Read more: Senior Hunger and Second Harvest Madison

Seniors affected by hunger and unable to work often find they have to turn to food banks like Second Harvest to get through the week. This decision can be difficult and embarrassing for a first time user, so support for breaking the stigma about food banks is essential. Our Hunger Story feature on Jim, a veteran and food bank user, discusses his experience overcoming the food bank stigma. At Second Harvest, we hope to provide assistance for those affected by hunger, but also to promote awareness of the problem and its public understanding.

Check out our other Hunger Stories

The generosity of food and fund donors here in Wisconsin allows us to continue supporting emergency need by seniors and many other members of the community facing food insecurity. If you feel you have the resources to do so, check out our food donation page, or host a food/fund drive in your neighborhood!


  1. Jocelynn Culshaw's avatar
    Jocelynn Culshaw
    | Permalink
    I am one of the seniors that use second harvest. I have many health issues, that sometimes I am not able to come because of my health issues. There are too many to mention, but every time I have been able to come everyone has been friendly & helpful, because I able disabled & walk with a walker. I have even spread the word where I live in a elderly & disabled housing apartment building. So that they know there are other places to go to get help.
  2. Jayne Mullins's avatar
    Jayne Mullins
    | Permalink
    Hi all, I'm going to jump on here and suggest people not share their full name or too much personal information so your personal identity is not 'out there'. It's fine if you want to share a 'scenario' about how Second Harvest, your local food pantry, or FoodShare helped you. Others might see that and think,"Hmm, maybe I should try that", but they don't need to know who exactly posted it. Please be cautious of sharing personal information online because anyone could see your contact information or details about your situation that really should be kept private. Jayne Mullins, Elder Abuse Program Specialist,
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