How hunger affects seniors like Mary

The rate of hunger among seniors aged 60 and older has increased drastically over the past 20 years, and now COVID-19 puts even more at-risk. Seniors facing hunger increased by 38% since 2001 and as America ages, hunger pains grow.

According to Feeding America:

·       63% of seniors are forced to choose between food and medical care.

·       Households served by the Feeding America network that includes an adult of the age 50 or older are at an increased risk of having someone with a chronic health condition, including diabetes (41%) and high blood pressure (70%)- conditions that can be mitigated by healthy food options.

·       Only 48% of eligible seniors are enrolled and receiving SNAP benefits.

Hunger affects seniors we serve like, Mary. As a certified nursing assistant for 30 years, Mary was used to taking care of people. But after having a stroke, the tables turned.

“I was taking care of people practically all my life,” she said. “And then I had to have someone take care of me. It was really hard.”

Since the stroke, Mary can’t work. On disability, she’s not able to afford the food she needs. But she gets some help from a food pantry working.

“The food I get at the pantry is a big help to me. I wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise,” she said.

Mary is used to working, but for now, the pantry is helping fill in the gaps.

“I never expected to need this help,” she said. “But I’m glad it’s there now.”​

The East Texas Food Bank is dedicated to making sure East Texas seniors, like Mary, have access to the healthy food they need to thrive. We serve seniors through our Senior Box Program, Fresh Produce Program, Partner Food Pantries and Soup Kitchen, and our Benefits Assistance Program.

But we couldn’t serve some of East Texan’s most vulnerable with the community’s support! For Hunger Action Month, you can volunteer, host a virtual food drive (online fundraiser), make a one-time or monthly donation or share our messages on social media.