May is Older Americans Month – a time when we celebrate those who have given so much to our country and communities. It is impossible to measure the value of everything our seniors do. We do want to take this opportunity to highlight food insecurity among seniors. The Idaho Foodbank’s data from fiscal year 2021 shows that 24% of the people we serve are seniors age 65 or older. 5.5 million seniors in the United States struggle with hunger, which also means they’re not getting the nutrition they need to stay in good health.
Senior centers play an important role in fighting food insecurity. We are proud to serve seniors through direct programs of The Foodbank, as well as partner organizations. The Power County Senior Center in American Falls, ID is one of our partners in providing food for older Americans. In addition to offering meals three days a week at the senior center, they also run the local Meals on Wheels program. They prepare meals in-house that are served at their newly renovated senior center and then additional meals are frozen for the Meals on Wheels home delivery. Their menus are reviewed by a dietician to ensure they are nutritious meals for seniors. A recent meal included salmon, rice pilaf, vegetables, and a dessert. They prepare between 1,300 and 1,400 meals per month and serve around 80 people per day. During the COVID shut down, the Senior Center adjusted their services by offering curbside meal pick-up for seniors and were serving around 45 people. They started serving meals in person again in April.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is another tool to address senior hunger. Developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), CSFP improves the health of low-income seniors who are at least 60 years of age by adding nutritious food to their diets. Eligible seniors receive a free monthly food box that includes nutrition information and helpful recipes. In fiscal year 2020 there were 63 distribution locations for this program, benefitting 2,275 seniors each month; 27,296 boxes were distributed statewide.
For feeding programs serving the elderly or additional resources for seniors, please check your local Senior Center or the Idaho Commission on Aging.
We cannot let Older Americans Month go by without recognizing our senior volunteers who help The Idaho Foodbank and our partners around the state to provide food to those in need. More than 750,000 older adults are active volunteers across the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks, showcasing that now is always a good time to give back to others.
We would like to share a blog post from one of our
generous partners Regence Blue Shield: