A Senior Storyby Montgomery Area Food Bank on 01/10/14
Every year, MAFB reaches out to more than 60,000 seniors living in poverty across the state. While we have many programs designed to reach seniors in their communities or homes, every so often it is our privilege to get to visit with a senior in need.
Recently, Cheri O’Dell, who manages MAFB’s Senior Supplement Program, had the opportunity to assist a local senior who called looking for Ensure or Boost nutritional drinks. At 81 years old, she has a variety of medical conditions that have restricted her diet so much that she cannot eat and must live off of these drinks.
Medicaid used to help her pay for them – but coverage changed and they don’t cover these drinks any longer. She’s trying to live on $700 a month. She is still in her own home and her kids try to help when they can, but it seems like it’s never enough to cover her most basic living expenses.
Nutritional drinks for seniors are hard to come by, but we managed to find a few dozen to take to her.
Arriving at her modest home, Cheri was greeted by a 4-foot nothing woman. Her frame and build are tiny, no doubt emphasized by her struggle to provide for herself. Nevertheless, she was sweet and kind, and greeted Cheri with a warm hug and smile. They visited for a time, discussing the woman’s life and her struggles to find enough in her budget just to feed herself. Looking around her home, it was clear that she goes without more often than not, but when asked if she needed anything else she replied that she would just be grateful for more Ensure or Boost drinks if we get them in.
Leaving that sweet senior after providing help was bittersweet, as it always is. When we get the opportunity to sit down with someone in need, there’s always a blend of joy at having helped another person and a twinge of despair that we cannot do more…and there always seems to be more that needs doing.
Please take a moment to learn more about our Senior Supplement Program and MAFB's efforts to serve seniors in need.