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!