MAFB’s Senior Supplement Program (SSP) is designed to provide supplemental nutrition assistance designed to take 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%.
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 – also 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.
Seniors in our SSP receive a monthly 25 – 35 pound box of nutritious non-perishable food, as well as additional boxes in November and December for holiday meals. This program provides food that supports the specific nutritional needs of Seniors. For example, we provide low sodium, low or no sugar, and low fat foods in nearly every box. We also produce a Senior Supplement newsletter featuring healthy recipes, Senior health tips, etc., and distribute the publication to the Seniors we support.
Voices of our recipients:
“[The Senior Supplement Program] reminds me of the old days when people shared with others in the community.”
-Ms. Barbara, Recipient
“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, Recipient
“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.”
MAFB works with partner agencies to offer Emergency Food Pantries, Meals on Wheels Programs, On-Site Feeding Programs, and Mobile Pantries. The Senior Supplement program augments these feeding programs by reaching Seniors that are often, either due to health concerns or financial restrictions, unable to leave their homes and visit their local MAFB partner agency or attend a Mobile Pantry to receive food support.
Recent research indicates we should expect to see a growth in the number of Seniors needing assistance in the near future. During the next two decades, approximately 10,000 individuals will turn 65 each day. By 2050, the population age 65 and older is expected to reach 84 million, almost doubling from its current size. Despite facing health challenges and financial struggles, adults ages 50 to 59 are not age-eligible for federal programs targeted at the senior population, like Medicare and Social Security.