The AARP Foundation has a multi-year national campaign to find solutions to eliminate hunger among the older adult population.
In just two years, from 2006-2008, the percentage of older people struggling with hunger more than doubled. Today, over 6 million older people face the threat of hunger. North Carolina ranks ninth nationally for senior hunger and the Triad area has the third, fourth and fifth highest areas of food hardship for seniors.
See Also: AARP Resources on Hunger and Food Insecurity
Why? Because most hungry older adults may:
- Not have enough money to buy groceries due to fixed incomes
- Have lost a job
- Have lost their retirement investments in the recent markets
- Have lost a spouse or partner
- Be too proud or too embarrassed to tell anyone or ask for help
AARP North Carolina is working with Feeding America of NC, the NC Cooperative Extension “More in My Basket” program, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services, NC Legal Aid Corporation, and NC Food and Nutrition Services to conduct Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach and education, aimed at enrolling older adults who may be eligible for SNAP.
The income criteria is 200% above the poverty level, or less than $21,000/year. Twenty-five AARP NC volunteers have been trained in the SNAP application process to assist food banks and departments of social services with enrollment of folks who may receive this benefit. This can add an additional $77-100 per month to the food budget for a senior adult.
AARP NC is conducting two Drive to End Hunger tele-town halls on Aug. 24 and Nov. 14, to raise awareness among 90,000 older adults in the northeastern and northwestern areas of NC since food hardship is prevalent for older people in these areas. The intended result is to empower seniors with more money in their pocket to keep them healthier and less hungry.
AARP NC is also working with faith-based communities to conduct two Drive to End Hunger SNAP Sundays and SNAP outreach days to heighten awareness about what is available, and how to access and navigate to receive food through food banks, coalitions, and interfaith food shuttles, as well as learning how to start a community gardens, use food coupons to save money and participate with NC’s NASCAR efforts with Jeff Gordon, Drive to End Hunger Car No. 24.
If you are interested in volunteering through the state’s seven food banks, find opportunities on the Create the Good website. You can also create a food drive in your community and help feed a hungry older adult by calling 1-888-687-2277 or find information on the Drive to End Hunger website.
You can also give a monetary donation by texting HUNGER to 50555* to give $10, calling 1-855-DTEH NOW (1-855-383-4669) or you can give online.
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