NEW ORLEANS — April is Senior Hunger Awareness Month – a time to raise awareness about the unique challenges of senior food insecurity and the ways individuals and communities can help older adults access the food they need to stay healthy and strong.
In Louisiana, 23 percent of seniors, nearly one-in-four, face the threat of hunger. This ranks Louisiana as the second worst state for senior hunger. Seniors represent 25 percent of the individuals served by Second Harvest Food Bank annually.
“Many seniors live on a fixed income. They skip meals or choose between buying groceries or paying their rent or utility bills, or even medication,” said Natalie Jayroe, President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. “This can create serious health implications,” she added.
Throughout April, Second Harvest Food Bank will host a community-wide food drive with a focus on non-perishable food items that support the nutrition needs of seniors who are at increased risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Items that are high in protein and low in sodium/salt and sugar are needed as well as easy to prepare foods/meals such as:
|Pop-top cans of meat (tuna and chicken)||Brown rice|
|Canned soups, stews, chili||Whole wheat pasta|
|Fruit cups or applesauce||Peanut butter and jelly|
|Dried fruits (raisins)||Juices|
|Dried beans, lentils, or peas||Powdered or shelf-stable milk|
|Tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce||Ensure and other shelf-stable nutritional drinks and supplements|
A complete list of most needed food donations can be found at: no-hunger.org/suggested-food-donations.
Food donations will be accepted at Second Harvest Food Bank at 700 Edwards Avenue in the Elmwood Warehouse District, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. In addition, non-perishable food donations can be placed in red collection barrels inside any Rouses location.
Second Harvest Food Bank works year-round to remove barriers seniors face to accessing nutritious food. The Senior Café program prepares and distributes freshly made, wholesome meals daily to senior centers throughout Greater New Orleans. Moreover, the Second Harvest client services team works to close the hunger gap for seniors by connecting eligible seniors to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
“We all have a role to play to ensure that older adults have access to the food they need,” added Jayroe. “Senior Hunger Awareness Month is a call to action. Each of us can check on an elderly neighbor, parent or grandparent to assess if they are getting the proper nutrition they need to stay healthy.”
Together, we can fight senior hunger. Here ways individuals can help seniors who are food insecure:
- Prepare and deliver a healthy meal to a senior in need.
- Donate nutritious food items that seniors need to Second Harvest Bank or a local food pantry – items that are high in protein and low in sodium and sugar.
- Volunteer to sort and pack food boxes.
- Adopt a senior. Pick up and deliver food to a senior who is home bound or provide transportation to a nearby grocery or food pantry.
- Help a senior connect to ongoing food assistance – a local food pantry, SNAP benefits, or community programs like Meals on Wheels, Food For Seniors.
- Donate to Second Harvest Food Bank. For every dollar you donate, Second Harvest can provide 4 meals to a senior who is hungry.
To learn more about the State of Senior Hunger, visit www.feedingamerica.org/research/senior-hunger-research/senior. To learn more about volunteering or donating food or funds to Second Harvest Food Bank, visit www.no-hunger.org.