Starving seniors? Is that too harsh a word?
Let’s ratchet it down: hungry.
Or, maybe: food insecure. Yeah, that’s better. It sounds better anyway.
Call it what you want, the event is the same. It’s your grandmother or grandfather (or me…I’m certainly a grandmother) caught in a situation where there’s simply not enough food in the house.
Seniors living on Social Security are finding themselves routinely choose between food and medicine, food and transportation. When they need new clothes, seniors regularly shop at the boutique of the closet.
The issues with seniors and food insecurity are serious because when seniors no longer have the money to buy the food they need for proper nutrition or why they can no longer buy the medicines they need, they become ill and finally end up being cared for by their children or they end up in a nursing home.
I know many stories about:
The older woman in Woodstock living on mashed potatoes.
The older woman in Bearsville who ended up in a nursing home when she was cut off from her pantry take out food and didn’t have the resources or physical ability to get to a grocery store.
The older man who doesn’t have enough money for food and is slowly starving to death.
There is food available for all these people
if they can get to a pantry
if they can connect with a pantry offering take out food
if they can sign up for SNAP (food stamps).
I recently spoke with a retired friend. “Richard, do you get SNAP?”
“Why Richard? SNAP is usually easy to get. All you have to do is apply.”
“Well, I’m getting by without it. Let someone else, needier than me, get the money.”
“Richard, think about getting SNAP. This is something you paid for with your taxes. Why leave money on the table?”
I haven’t convinced him yet. However, we’re not through negotiating. As seniors, we’re in a situation where every little bit helps.
The barriers to SNAP for seniors are great. Seniors resist going to a pantry, soup kitchen, getting SNAP until they simply can’t resist any longer. I know the feeling. We grew up as children and went into adulthood feeling that if we worked hard and paid our taxes, we would end up okay. We worked all our lives believing this. And now, there simply isn’t enough.
With this event comes feelings of inadequacy and self blame. “I must have done something wrong. Here I am living hand-to-mouth. I don’t even have enough money for food. What did I do wrong?”
I don’t like a whole generation of people blaming themselves. I feel we’re not totally to blame. The rules have changed. Because we’re retired, we’re not in the rules making game anymore. Retirees are somewhat disempowered. Whatever happened to the Grey Panthers?
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The new memoir about hunger in America will soon be available! I’ll keep you in the loop.
Thanks again for your support!
SNAP is important. SNAP will help you if you are having trouble buying groceries.
SNAP is important for your community, too, because when you are able to get food with SNAP, you will have cash available to help pay your rent or buy gas to get back and forth to work.
Have you, or has someone you know, applied for SNAP? SNAP was formerly known as food stamps.. SNAP is about all that’s left in the way of assistance for people because welfare is shrinking and shrinking and shrinking yet again.
If you are having trouble paying for your groceries, now is a good time to apply. If you’ve applied in the past and were denied, maybe you need to apply again. You may, after all, have answered a question incompletely or incorrectly and were denied this benefit. Try again. You might do better this time around, especially if you or someone in your house is disabled or is a senior with medical expenses.
Some people are reluctant to apply for SNAP because they don’t know if they are eligible. Or, maybe they applied in the past but were denied. Many people don’t know how to apply and are overwhelmed by the application. Some people have never heard of SNAP and think of it as food stamps.
One thing: If you work, you need to know how to meet the work requirements.
Some information is needed to successfully apply for SNAP. This information comes in several categories.
Proof of income is necessary. This comes in the form of pay stubs, social security income information.
An identification is needed. This might be a State ID, passport, birth certificate, etc.
Bills help. This will include medical, heating, water, auto, rent.
Your social security number and the numbers of everyone in your household is necessary.
Dependent Care Costs will help. These include day care costs, child support, attendant for disabled adult.
Contact your local Department of Social Services office to arrange for application assistance. If this doesn’t work for you, contact your Office on Aging or Catholic Charities.
SNAP is an important benefit which will help you if you are having trouble buying groceries.
SNAP is important for your community, too, because when you are able to get food with stamps, you will have cash available to help pay your rent or buy gas to get back and forth to work.
SNAP is important for your household because you’ll be able to get more food with your SNAP card and you won’t be hungry anymore.
This translates to better health.
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This book is being published now and will be available soon!
This book will be going to the publisher before the end of the year.
Lord, thank You for the food pantry where I work.
And, Lord, thank You for the shoppers and volunteers I’ve come to know through our work here.
I ask You Lord, have patience as we learn to pray for one another and care for one another. Our pantry work is a glorification of Your name as You work miracles in our midst. Thank You for the difference You make in all our lives.
Lord, You teach us much in this pantry. For starters, You’ve taught us that the hungry shall be fed – no matter what – no matter why – no matter who.
We experience what it means to be new as we learn what it’s like to work with, accept, and feel welcome – both the worthy and the unworthy.
We’re learning that we’re all Your people. We are all accepted. We are all holy. We are all worthy. The pantry is faith in action.
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