Grocery Program Brings Fresh Produce United Hebrew’s Senior Housing Apartments
For many, food inspires fun and enjoyment with family and friends. For others, thinking about food may stir up feelings of hunger and insecurity. Far too many seniors are “food insecure,” which means they lack reliable access to nutritious food for a healthy active life.
Food insecurity is a growing problem. The rate of hunger among seniors aged 60 and older has increased by 45 percent since 2001, according to Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks across the country. As the population ages, the number of food insecure seniors may grow to more than eight million by 2050.
To help residents of our independent senior housing apartments, United Hebrew reached out to Feeding Westchester, a member of Feeding America which aims to eradicate hunger across the county. As a result, the organization’s “Senior Grocery” program was recently launched on United Hebrew’s campus, bringing a monthly delivery of fresh produce each month to over 90 residents of our Meadow Lane and Soundview Senior Apartments.
For United Hebrew’s part, the program helps fulfill our mission to care for our residents like family, so that they may remain independent for as long as possible.
“We spend a lot of time ensuring our residents access the benefits available to them, including SNAP, Medicare andMedicaid,” says Joanne Russo-Lanza, Vice President of Housing at United Hebrew of New Rochelle. “This is another invaluable additional resource for our residents, and it brings a lot of joy, too!”
Seniors face particular challenges that make hunger a more painful experience:
- 63% of seniors served by Feeding America are forced to choose between food and medical care;
- Seniors served by Feeding America are at an increased risk of having chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which can be improved with health food options;
- Only 42% of eligible seniors are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides federal food assistance benefits
Source: Feeding America website.
These are the very issues Feeding Westchester aims to address via the Senior Grocery Program, says Danice Tatosian, Senior Manager, Nutrition & Public Health Initiatives at Feeding Westchester.
“Over 33,000 seniors are hungry in Westchester County. Their reasons for being food insecure may include living on a fixed income, or having to buy costly medications. The produce these residents receive through our program is nutritious and enough to last a senior for a few weeks.”
Each bag includes a balance of nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and grains. For residents who have limited mobility, and are unable to visit food pantries, the delivery brings the ingredients necessary for a healthy meal right to their front door.
“We want to help provide food for Westchester seniors so they never have to choose between medical care or other expenses, and living a healthy, happy life,” adds Tatosian.