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Hunger in Kansas

A sign in a market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps

— Spencer Platt/Getty Images

During these tough economic times, it has gotten a lot harder for many older adults to make ends meet.

AARP believes no one of any age should struggle to make a choice of buying groceries, paying rent, or purchasing the medicine they need. And yet, between 2006 and 2008 the percentage of poor and near-poor elderly with very low food security more than doubled—from 4.7 percent to 10.1 percent.

Six million Americans age 60 and older suffer from some form of hunger. An estimated 5.03 percent of Kansas seniors are at risk of hunger. Kansas ranks 27th in the nation for senior risk of hunger according to the Meals on Wheels Association of America.
The good news is that there are several ways you can help your fellow Kansans who are in danger of going hungry. Whether you have 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days there is something you can do. You can start by contacting your local food bank or shelter and ask what they need most and how you can help.

AARP’s Create the Good website, can also assist. On it, you can learn how to organize a food drive, post and find volunteer opportunities to help those who are hungry or donate money to the cause. You can also find out more about the Food Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program) which is often referred to on the federal level as SNAP which stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

This program benefits people with low-incomes by providing an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that they can use to obtain food at most grocery stores and other food outlets. The federal government funds 100 percent of SNAP benefits and provides approximately half of a state’s costs to administer the program. Unfortunately, many of those who are eligible to participate in the SNAP program do not take advantage of it.

While state statistics aren’t available, nationally, in 2008, only 35 percent of seniors eligible for SNAP participated, compared with 67 percent who were eligible. Find out more about the Food Assistance Program online.

Find out more about how you can help with hunger in Kansas:

Kansas Food Bank

Kansas Action for Children

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