It’s hard to imagine, but an increasing number of surveys confirm that a growing numbers of older Americans are lining up at soup kitchens and food banks. The nonprofit group Feeding America, which represents a network of more than 200 food banks around the country, including Alaska, has seen a 46 percent increase in the number of low-income people seeking emergency food assistance since 2005. About eight percent of the people in line are 65 and older, a total of almost 3 million people.
See Also: Find out what you can do to help stop hunger among older Americans – in its tracks
Today, only 35% of eligible older Americans get food assistance. Average monthly benefit in the Lower 48 is $102. In 2009, for Alaskan seniors 60 to 65, the average food stamp benefit was $160.72; $99.23 for those 66 and over.
According to the Alaska Food Coalition, for seniors, poverty is the leading cause of hunger, living alone is another risk factor. Older Americans faced with hunger are more likely to report poor health; live at or below the poverty level; and be divorced, separated or living with a grandchild. Feeding America estimates the number of seniors facing hunger will increase nationally from 5 million to 9.5 million by 2025.
The Hunger in America 2010 study found 42% of adult pantry and kitchen clients in Alaska were 50 and older. Although only 8.5% are currently 65 and older, this number will only increase. Of those currently 65 and older, 57.8% reported they experienced low or very low food security.
Facts about the Food Bank of Alaska:
- The Food Bank of Alaska provides food for an estimated 74,000 different people annually
- Approximately 15,000 different people receive assistance in any given week
- Adults at program sites are evenly divided between male & female
- 42% pantry clients have a child under 18 at home
- Among client households with children under 18, 30% are single-parent households
Sixty percent of the Food Bank of Alaska’s income comes from community support. For every $1 they receive, they can provide 5 pounds of food to a partner agency feeding hungry Alaskans.
What if you could drive change in America by helping people eat – AND win a trip to watch the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet race?
Enter for the chance to win this Grand Prize package, or a die cast car and a $250 donation made in your name to a Feeding America food bank near you. Let’s end hunger in Alaska and throughout America.