Too many seniors go hungry every day. In Massachusetts alone, more than 50,000 older adults are at risk of hunger, leaving them vulnerable to poor health and chronic diseases due to inadequate nutrition.
Today, food pantries across the commonwealth remain in dire need of food donations. For many seniors on a fixed income, the cost of living has gone up, while Social Security benefits have remained the same. In Springfield, Open Pantry has seen a rapid increase in clients due to the economic downturn, with older residents making up 25 percent of those served.
That’s why AARP Massachusetts has been working to address the growing risk of hunger among older adults by holding local food drives, and encouraging members to organize their own, all part of the Create The Good Hunger Campaign.
Help fight hunger in your community
On April 28, join us at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield for the 20th Annual Life Enrichment Expo, and bring a non-perishable food item to our event table. All donations will be given to Rachel’s Table, an organization that distributes extra food from area supermarkets, restaurants, caterers and bakeries to 43 soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters in western Massachusetts. AARP is a program sponsor of this free event. For more information, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about these and other planned activities around the state, check the AARP MA blog for details.
Other ways to help
If you can’t make it to the Expo on April 28, there are still ways to get involved in the fight to end hunger.
Donate to a food bank. Help your local food bank serve the hungry in your community. Whether you make a monetary donation, or volunteer your time, you can make a big difference. There are four major food banks in the Bay State:
Organize a food drive. Collect food and/or monetary donations for your favorite community-based food organization. Create The Good’s how-to kit “Organize A Food Drive” can help you plan an event where you live. Some things to think about before getting started:
- Pick a local group that needs food. Is there a food pantry or homeless shelter near you? What about your church, senior center, or local school? If you’re looking for suggestions on who to contact, check with your area food bank.
- Decide how you want to collect donations. Do you want to schedule a single-site drop off, on a specific day? Or would you rather set up drop boxes where people can leave food over the course of several weeks?
- Assess volunteer needs and recruit. Who is going to help make your event a success? Establish a small committee to plan and coordinate the food drive – look to your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and faith group members for volunteers.
If no local organization needs support, consider running a virtual food drive. Because of their buying power, food banks can stretch a $10 donation into $100 or more worth of food.
About the Create The Good Hunger Campaign
Since last fall, we’ve collected more than 3,000 pounds of food for Open Pantry’s Emergency Food Pantry. We’ve also recruited volunteers to help Project Bread with SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) enrollment.
Create The Good
Whether you’ve got five minutes, five hours or five days, you can make a positive impact in your community. And if you have more time, consider organizing another service activity, finding local opportunities and posting your events at Create The Good.
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