Montgomery Area Food Bank's (MAFB) Senior Supplement Program (SSP) is designed to provide supplemental nutrition assistance thereby taking Senior concerns about food insecurity off the table. According to the University of Georgia Initiative on Poverty and the Economy, the national average of Seniors (60 years-old and older) living in poverty is 9.86%. Tragically, that number jumps to a staggering 22.09% within the MAFB service area, with our most afflicted county currently at four times the national average - reaching an alarming rate of 36.05%.
The MAFB SSP business model features a partnership which provides vital nutrition to a growing segment of our population, which is particularly susceptible to food insecurity. MAFB and our local community agencies which are focused on Senior Hunger, co-sponsor each of the Seniors identified and listed by the agencies in our program.
This partnership enables MAFB and SSP agencies to provide at least 40 pounds of supplemental nutrition monthly throughout the entire year and then doubles that support during the holiday season months of November and December to include holiday fare like hams and/or turkeys.
The re-development and expansion of the SSP coincides with a steady growth in our national senior population. According to the Social Security Administration as many as 10,000 individuals will turn 65 each day over the next two decades. The Baby Boomers are now becoming the “Silver Tsunami”. By 2050, our nation’s population aged 65 and older is expected to reach 84 million, almost doubling its current size.
Comments from Seniors:
“The Senior Supplement Program] reminds me of the old days when people shared with others in the community.” Ms. Barbara
“The monthly Senior Supplement box from the food bank helps me supplement my monthly grocery bill. I build a menu around the items in the box; I especially enjoy the peanut butter, prunes and fig pieces.” Mr. Oliver
“I look forward to my box of food each month the same way I looked forward to Santa Clause as a child. Please let your supporters know how grateful I am for their generosity and tell all the volunteers how I appreciate this service.”Ms. Mary Helen
For Seniors on a fixed income, making ends meet all too often involves making choices between affording food or medication and tragically occasionally even shelter. A recent Feeding America study found that Seniors who received assistance reported having had to choose between paying for food and; medical care (74%), utilities (76%), housing (61%), transportation (75%) at least once in the past year.
Seniors – regardless of income levels – have different nutritional needs and are more likely to have difficulty preparing or consuming food due to limited mobility, cognitive impairments, and other age-related conditions. These challenges are amplified for low-income seniors trying to get by on a limited food budget and the fact that senior medical costs are 3-to-5 times higher than younger adults.
Unfortunately, these formidable numbers don’t account for the health challenges and financial struggles of adults ages 50 to 59, who are not age-eligible for federal programs targeted to benefit the senior population, like Medicare and Social Security.
* During Fiscal Year 2018 our SSP grew from providing assistance to 328 to 746 senior neighbors in need.