The coronavirus pandemic put many older adults in crisis because of disruptions in the normal food supply chain; many organizations that normally support food-insecure individuals and families were overwhelmed by demand or unable to support recipients because of pandemic restrictions. AARP Foundation aimed to help to fill that gap.
In April 2020, we launched the AARP Foundation Emergency Food Box program to provide immediate food assistance to older adults identified as being in critical need due to the pandemic. The program delivered the equivalent of more than 3.4 million meals to older adults in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each box, provided and delivered free of charge, contained essential non-perishable food items that could be made into about two weeks’ worth of nutritious meals. Recipients included people we were already serving in AARP Foundation programs, as well as those identified by our affordable senior housing partners and other community organizations as being in dire need.
One recipient told us, “As a family we are very grateful, and I was able to share with another family in great need. Thank you so much.”
Everyone at AARP Foundation echoes that gratitude for the support of our partners who made this effort possible.
Our food security team is now focusing its efforts on longer-term solutions to food insecurity among low-income older adults, including:
- Increasing enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Raising awareness about eating for health through MyPlate for Older Adults
We also continue to provide immediate and sustained help to vulnerable older adults through other programs, including:
- AARP Foundation’s Local Assistance Directory, an easy-to-use, online tool designed to help people find food, housing, health and employment programs in their community.
- Our toll-free Work Resources Hotline at 855-850-2525, which provides referral assistance to local support services as well as information about our workforce programs such as BACK TO WORK 50+