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Solving senior hunger in Northern Illinois

18/May/19 / 11:55

In Northern Illinois, we know that hunger is here and hunger is real. It’s in our hometowns. It affects men, women, children and seniors of all ages and backgrounds in our community.
 
But we also know that hunger can be an overlooked problem – especially for our senior neighbors.
 
According to Feeding America, 5.5 million seniors (adults ages 60 and up) in the U.S. struggle with hunger,(1) which means about 1 in 12 seniors are affected.
 
Often limited by fixed incomes that force them to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine, these seniors are not getting the nutritious groceries they need to stay healthy. In fact, we know seniors facing hunger are at increased risk for chronic health conditions including depression, heart attack, asthma and congestive heart failure.(2)
 
As the senior population continues to grow, so too will the challenges of ensuring our older neighbors have consistent access to healthy and nutritious food. Every day, 10,000 people join the senior age group – and at the current rate, the number of food-insecure seniors may grow to more than 8 million by the year 2050.(1)
 
At Northern Illinois Food Bank, we know it is essential that we rise to meet this challenge – and we’re committed to providing all of the seniors in our service area with every meal, everyday. Last year, we served more than 529,000 meals to food-insecure seniors through programs like our Senior Grocery Box, Senior Mobiles, and the Winnebago Community Market.
 

  • Senior Grocery Box – Each month, the Senior Grocery Box program brings boxes filled with shelf-stable groceries, household items, and fresh produce to seniors throughout Northern Illinois who are identified for participation in the program by food pantries, senior housing, and other community groups.
  • Senior Mobiles – Senior Grocery Mobiles offer same-day grocery distributions to low-income seniors who do not have access to a local food pantry. Volunteers from the community help seniors transport their grocery selections from the Mobile Pantry truck back to their homes. Currently, the Food Bank has at least one Senior Grocery Mobile each month, serving 100+ seniors at each distribution.
  • Winnebago Community Market – The Winnebago Community Market (located at the Food Bank’s Northwest Center in Rockford) offers two seniors-only distributions per month.

While our senior-specific programs are making strides towards solving senior hunger, strong federal nutrition programs that reach seniors – including SNAP, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and services like Meals on Wheels – are also essential to provide every meal, every day for all of our senior neighbors.
 
Another element that is critical in our efforts to solve senior hunger? YOU! Help us raise awareness for older Americans who are food-insecure by donating, volunteering, and getting involved in your local community. Together, we can make sure our senior neighbors have the nutritious food they need to lead active and healthy lives into their golden years. Together, we can solve hunger!


How You Can Help:

 

  • Volunteer at one of our Centers in Geneva, Rockford, Park City, or Joliet sorting and packing food
  • Donate to help us solve hunger in your community – every $1 donated helps provide $8 of groceries.

 

 
 
 
 

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(1)“Senior Hunger in the United States.” Feeding America

(2)“Senior Food Insecurity Studies.” Feeding America.