Hunger Is Not a Disease

An Important Article from Aging in Place

THE FACTS BEHIND SENIOR HUNGER

Seniors Being Hungry is a Nationwide Epidemic

Nearly one in every six seniors in America faces the threat of hunger and not being properly nourished. This applies to those who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from and those who don’t have access to the healthiest possible food options. The issue is severe enough that the AARP reports that seniors face a healthcare bill of more than $130 billion every year due to medical issues stemming from senior hunger.

Senior hunger is an expansive issue that requires an understanding of exactly what constitutes a senior being “hungry,” the issues that stem from senior hunger, and how seniors who are hungry can be helped.

To understand the concept of seniors being hungry, you must understand what it means to be “food insecure.” When you are food insecure, it means that there is “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways,” as defined by a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Essentially, it means that you aren’t receiving and/or don’t have access to the necessary foods and nutrients to help sustain your life.

The concept of being “hungry” is a state-of-mind, meaning that there is a physical aspect to the lack of food. Attending to an area where people are hungry and basically starving is a much more immediate and severe problem to solve. Being food insecure, on the other hand, helps include people who may have enough food and don’t technically live consistently in hunger, but the food they are eating—usually in large amounts—isn’t up to nutritional and dietary standards.

In 2006, the USDA broke down food insecurity into two categories to help determine how food insecure someone is:

13%

Of Households In America Are Food Insecure

Low Food Security

While there may not be an overall reduction in how much food someone is intaking, there may be a lower quality and variety of your diet. For instance, there may be reduced amounts of fresh vegetables and meats, but that may be replaced with fast food. In this category, people don’t miss many meals, but the type of meals that are being eaten diminish in quality.

Very Low Food Security

When you have very low food security, your health and ability to correct it with healthy food is in a dire situation. To be assigned this categorization, the USDA says there must be “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake,” meaning you’re often missing meals and not eating enough to survive.

The Numbers Behind Senior Hunger

In 2017, there are just more than 49 million Americans age 65 and over, and about 8 million of them can be considered facing the threat of hunger.

Not only is senior hunger such a large issue now, the threat of it persisting as a problem into the future is high because of the high rate of seniors expected to exist. As seniors lost million dollars in the stock market through the 2007 economic recession, their wealth- including retirement funds, insurance payouts, and pension checks – plummeted. This increased the rate at which seniors spent money on lesser quality food in favor of other things like insurance.

In 2014, the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) reported the following facts:

16%

Of seniors “face the threat of hunger,” meaning they’re at some level of food insecurity

65%

Increase in hunger among the senior populations from 2007 to 2014, which is credited partially to the economic recession that started in 2007

55,000,000

Seniors are expected to be in America by 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

80,000,000

Seniors are expected to take up 20% of the population by 2050

Are Some Seniors More Affected than Others?

An even deeper issue with senior hunger, aside from how many seniors it affects, is how disproportionately the food insecurity is spread out amongst race, class levels, and geographic location. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that contribute to how certain seniors are more affected than the others.

CLASS

NFESH performed a deep analysis of the level of food insecurity among seniors in 2008. Within the report is the role seniors’ closeness to the poverty line plays in how food insecure they are, whether they are marginally food insecure, food insecure, or very low food secure. For example, nearly 80 percent of seniors “below 50 percent of the poverty line,” which in 2013 was $15,510 for a two-person household, were at some level of food insecurity.

While food insecurity rates dropped closer to and above the poverty line, the report clarifies that “hunger cuts across the income spectrum.” More than 50 percent of seniors who are at-risk of being food insecure live above the poverty line.

Craig Gundersen, a professor at the University of Illinois and food security expert, says that the main areas where food insecurity is increasing the most is among Americans making less than $30,000 per year and those between the ages of 60 and 69.

Gundersen blames the increase in food insecurity rates to many things, but primarily there was a decrease in wages and overall net worth after the recession in the late 2000s. Many seniors lost mass amounts of money when the stock markets crashed, and as they’re entering retirement, they didn’t have the time to recover. “Most of them can’t rely on Social Security income, and can’t receive Medicare until they are 65,” Gundersen said.

A Census Bureau report from 2011 notes that about 15 percent of seniors (about one in six) live in poverty, based on a “supplemental poverty measure” that adjusts the poverty level to modern day living expenses. This is important because you are more likely to develop an illness like cancer or heart disease—both often linked to your overall health— when you live in poverty.

50%

Of Seniors Who are At-Risk of Being Food Insecure Live Above the Poverty Line

Of the Population Without a Car in Many Southern Counties Don’t Have a Supermarket Within a Mile

RACE

Another issue with senior hunger—and food insecurity in general—is how much race affects the likelihood that you are food insecure. And this is directly tied to class level, as minorities often live in lower income brackets. While the AARP points out that, as you age, the rate of food insecurity raises among all races and ethnicities, there are still those who experience food insecurity at much higher rates.

The aforementioned 2008 report of food insecurity found that African-American seniors were far more likely to have some sort of level of food insecurity than white seniors (almost 50 percent compared to 16 percent) and that Hispanics were more likely to live at some level of food insecurity than non-Hispanics (40 percent compared to 17 percent).

“African-American households are two to two-and-a-half times as likely to be in one of the three categories as the typical senior household,” the report clarified, also noting that Hispanics face similar odds. It’s also more likely in both these minority groups for someone to be food insecure if they are widowed or divorced and live alone.

FOOD DESERTS

As mentioned, there are also certain parts of the country that are more likely to be food insecure than others. Areas where access for fresh produce and food is the most limited are known as “food deserts.” Not only does this include the absence of fresh food, but food deserts also include areas where access to food is inhibited because of the lack of grocery stores or the lack of transportation to get to one.

Food deserts often fall in poorer areas of the country, which further fuels the food insecurity levels due to class.

All but one of the top 10 states for food insecurity are in the South or Midwest. These states match a map of the United States that shows the high concentrations of food deserts. In many of the states with high levels of food insecurity, there are also counties with larger concentrations of areas where there is no supermarket within a mile of people who don’t have a car. For instance, in many counties in Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana, more than 10 percent of the population without a car doesn’t have a supermarket within a mile.

This severely affects an individual’s health. Those who lived more than 1.75 miles from a grocery store actually turned out to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who lived closer to one, a 2006 study found.

According to the USDA, the states with the highest levels of food insecurity (rates between 20 percent and 30 percent) among elders 60 and older are:

South Carolina
Alabama
Mississippi
New Mexico
Maine
Louisiana
Texas
Arkansas
Missouri
Kansas

The Challenges that Can Cause Senior Hunger

As we’ve seen, there are socioeconomic reasons why a senior may be food insecure, and we just looked at some of the main ones. But there are plenty of other factors that may cause someone to not get the proper food they need to maintain their health:

LIVING ALONE

According to a 2012 report, nearly half of the senior households that experienced food insecurity were those where a senior was living alone. There are many things that living alone can do to spur food insecurity, such as not having someone else to help get food from the store if you’re lacking mobility and cook it for you. Living alone also factors into depression and the development of dementia, both of which have side effects of the suppression of hunger. The NFESH study backs this up as well, noting that “those living alone are twice as likely to experience hunger compared to married seniors.”

AGE

Seniors aged below 70 are more likely to experience bouts of food security than those aged 70 and up. The NFESH report showed that as seniors aged, they were less likely to be any level of food insecure, with those under 70 (20 percent) living at some level of food insecurity than those over 80 (14 percent). This can be attributed to many factors, such as the amount of money received from government programs like Medicare (which help alleviate medical costs so more money can be spent on food) and whether or not they live in an assisted living facility, which may help with more consistent eating habits.

EDUCATION LEVEL

Those with a high school degree or no high school degree at all are more likely to experience some sort of food security than those with a college degree. There is a stark drop off of food insecurity levels with someone who at least has some college education. This can be tied to getting paid higher wages at jobs, which then translates to the potential of having more money saved up when you’re older.

Overall, senior women are slightly more likely to be food insecure than men, but the rates are not vast enough to be a determining factor in the likelihood of food insecurity. All of these factors, though—from the big ones like geographic location and race to the smaller ones like age—play into seniors’ overall health, a detrimental factor to how long seniors will live.

Illnesses Caused by Malnourishment

As seniors become more food insecure, they also become more likely to develop diseases and illness that could cut their life short. Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that focuses on hunger issues across the country, took a look at various illness that were more likely to occur when seniors lived with food insecurity. We’ll dive into those illness—along with a couple more—that can stem from eating poor food and eating at an infrequent rate.

Depression

According to a 2017 report from Feeding America, food-insecure seniors are 60 percent more likely to suffer from depression than food-secure seniors. Another study from the AARP determined that food insecure people were nearly three times more likely to suffer from depression.

Some of the leading causes of depression include having conflicts in your interpersonal relationships and life-altering events that completely shift your life, typically trending negative. The inability to provide consistent healthy food for yourself or your family can lead to depression. This is because though you may have once lived food secure, you are constantly worrying about making sure you’re going to have some sort of food on your plate for your next meal. Years of worrying about your next meal can take a toll and put you in a constant depressive mood. If you do suffer from depression, a side effect is a suppressed hunger, and that can further worsen your health—it’s a vicious cycle.

Heart Disease

There are many negative effects food insecurity has on the heart, both from a level of stress and other physiological aspects. The Feeding America study found that seniors who suffer from food insecurity were 40 percent more likely to experience congestive heart failure, where the heart ceases pumping blood around the body at a necessary pace. This is a direct result of the quality of food eaten among food-insecure seniors and how lacking the necessary nutrient—especially when older—can play a role in exacerbating dire health issues.

The inconsistency at which food-insecure seniors eat also fuels stress levels that have negative effects on the heart as they’re consistently worrying about their next meal. The American Heart Association notes that prolonged stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, overeating, and the lack of physical activity—all leading causes of heart disease. So just as the type of food you’re eating can have physical effects, food insecurity can also have psychological and physiological effects because of the situation at hand.

But these heart issues don’t start once you’re older. The Center for Disease Control conducted a 10-year study on 30 to 59 year olds and the relationship between their levels of food security and their heart. The study found that those with very low food security were far more likely to develop a cardiovascular disease that those who were at least marginally food secure. This shows that health problems associated with food insecurity, while prevalent in seniors, can begin with prolonged exposure to food insecurity.

Diabetes

The overall quality of food—and how inconsistently it’s eaten—plays a role in developing type 2 diabetes in seniors.

A 2012 study, which analyzed the role food insecurity plays in cardiometabolic disease (a disease that increases the risk of diabetes), points out that some aspects of food insecurity include binge eating food when it becomes available and eating energy-dense food, which can put an overall unhealthy strain on the heart and contribute to becoming diabetic. In 2013 and 2014 alone, a separate study found that food-insecure seniors were nearly twice as likely to be diabetic than food-secure seniors. Overall, it concluded that food-insecure seniors were 65 percent more likely to be diabetic.

Not only does food insecurity increase the risk of diabetes, it’s also difficult for a diabetic person to afford a diet that supports diabetes when they are food insecure. When concluding that food insecurity is an independent risk factor in developing diabetes, the study said:

“This risk may be partially attributable to increased difficulty following a diabetes-appropriate diet and increased emotional distress regarding capacity for successful diabetes self-management.”

Limited Activities of Daily Living

Food insecurity among seniors generally affects how they can live their day-to-day lives. Sidney Katz, a physician from the mid-1900s, developed the concept of Activities for Daily Living (ADLs) that helps determine how functional an elderly person is and whether or not they are able to support themselves or not. The six detrimental ADLs to an elderly person include:

  • Bathing
  • Personal hygiene
  • Going to the bathroom
  • Sleeping on their own
  • Mobility (getting in and out of bed, walking, etc.)
  • Being able to feed themselves

The presence of food insecurity has been found to negatively affect seniors’ ability to complete these ADLs, which hinders their ability to continue to live on their own. An NFESH study found that food-insecure seniors were 30 percent more likely to report at least one ADL limitation, and this is largely fueled from being unable to physically get to the store and purchase food. This can then affect a senior’s health and take its toll on other ADLs, such as the ability to go to the bathroom on their own.

Organizations Working to End Senior Hunger

There are ways to combat senior hunger, and there are thousands of workers out there to help stemming from non-profit and governmental organizations.

The primary organization you should know about if you’re a food-insecure senior—or suffer from food insecurity at all—is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known more commonly as food stamps. SNAP assists low-income citizens with getting the necessary food they need.

As of 2014, it was found that less than 50 percent of the elderly eligible for the program were enrolled, which is a staggeringly low number. The government is willing and able to help seniors suffering from food insecurity. You can visit the benefits website to see if you are eligible for the programs and apply.

There are also organizations seeking to end senior hunger and decrease levels of food insecurity among the senior population. Some of these include the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, Meals on Wheels and other food delivery services, USDA services, and AARP:

NFESH

The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger is a large non-profit organization dedicated directly to putting an end to senior hunger. Their vision statement is as follows: “We will identify and assess this challenge in communities through funding senior-specific research, fostering local collaboration and engaging diverse partners. We foresee the creation of tangible, replicable solutions in ending senior hunger to meet the needs of an aging population.”

Government organizations like the USDA started services that bring food to seniors who don’t have the means of getting to a grocery store. There are also organizations like Meals on Wheels that help deliver healthy meals to people of all ages, including seniors.

In addition to developing programs that help get food to seniors’ doorsteps, the USDA offers services that provide financial help to seniors to get the necessary nutritious and fresh food they need to maintain health. These programs include the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the Nutrition Services Incentive Program, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

This group has a division that’s dedicated to ending senior hunger and has helped deliver more than 37 million meals to seniors since 2011.

Healthy Eating Tips to Remember

In addition to looking for assistance from organizations, there are steps you can take when buying your groceries to ensure that the money is spent on the proper healthy foods.

Primarily, you must know what you’re looking for when you enter a grocery store, so it’s important to make a list. This way, you won’t deviate from the plan of buying healthy foods. Make sure to look out for deals on healthy food, and buy multiples of one product if it’s non-perishable so you don’t have to make a trip back for the same deal.

It’s also important to not waste any food. If you are buying vegetables and produce in bulk, put them to use and prepare multiple meals at one time. It’s also perfectly fine to freeze meats for months at a time, so buy a few more pounds than you originally planned and put it in the freezer for several weeks from when you buy it.

You should also know exactly what you’re buying. Make sure to not load up on food that is high in carbohydrates. This can contribute to weight gain and cause you to accidentally skip meals if you are too full from previous meals. You should also compare labels when choosing between products. The products with lower sugar and sodium levels are typically better for you than their counterparts.

With these tips and the information presented above in mind, hopefully we as a society can move closer to ending hunger for seniors and our nation as a whole.

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On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 3:50 PM, Thurman Greco <thurmangreco@gmail.com> wrote:

blog post

On Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 11:36 AM, Carolina from Aginginplace.org <cgerard@nationalcouncilforagingcare.org> wrote:

Hi there,

Too many of our nation’s seniors are going hungry.

The National Council for Aging Care is dedicated to educating seniors and those who care for them.

Our article, The Facts Behind Senior Hunger: http://www.aginginplace.org/the-facts-behind-senior-hunger addresses some of the causes, complications, and cures for senior food insecurity.

Could you take a moment to help this important topic gain more visibility by adding it to http://hungerisnotadisease.com/category/upstate-new-york/

Sincerely,

Carolina Gerard
Outreach Intern
National Council for Aging Care
Aginginplace.org
1200 G Street, NW
Washington D.C. 20005
SHR11.30

Thank You to Aging in Place for sharing this article with me.  This information is both relevant and important.

Thurman Greco

.

Seniors and Those Who Care for Them

What does this photo have to do with hungry seniors and those who care for them?  A lot, actually.  This photo is a group of seniors  getting food from the Reservoir Food Pantry in Boiceville, New York.

Carolina Gerard, an outreach intern from the National Council for Aging Care forwarded an article to me this week.  It addresses some of the causes, complications, and cures for senior food insecurity.  Can you take a moment to go to http://www.aginginplace.org/the-facts-behind-senior-hunger

I’m sure you will find it interesting and engaging.

Thanks again for reading  this article.  Please share it with your favorite social media network.

 

Ramen Noodles Should be a Choice.

Ramen Noodles should be a choice.

Ramen Noodles should be a choice.

 

On a recent New York Subway ride, I stood in a crowded car bound for Flatbush,   thinking about hungry people having only Ramen Noodles to eat because they had no money.    Just then,  an older black man near me spoke to everyone in the crowded car.

With a  well modulated, practiced, articulate voice,  this cotton top knew what he was doing.  He talked about veterans and their needs.  He obviously either wrote the speech because he was an excellent and experienced speech writer or he  found himself such a person to do the job.

He ended his short presentation with a plea for money.  And, wrapped up in this short talk  was the realization that he was as much interested in consciousness raising as he was in collecting dimes and dollars.  What he wanted, really, was for  captive audience members in the metro car to hear his message, digest it, understand it, and act on it in some beneficial way.

This man’s message  went right to my brain and my heart.  What this old cotton top didn’t know was that we are  on the same path.  I, too, am on a mission of consciousness raising and fundraising.  And, like him, I’m not doing this  just for the fun of it.  I’m on a mission to spread the word about a truly tragic and hidden horror in our country:  hunger in America.

I want people in this country to have enough food in their lives so that Ramen Noodles should be a choice.

I sell books and T-shirts to raise money,  give talks in libraries and church meeting halls. Finally,  I work daily  to interest you  in the plight of hungry people of every age  in our great nation who simply don’t have the money to buy food.  Ramen Noodles should be a choice.

When you purchase my book, you help me  feed the hungry.   All the proceeds of “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” go to  buy food  for hungry people who need it.  Ramen noodles should be a choice.

Right now, because of the summer months, I’m donating peanut butter to hungry people.  At other times in the year, the focus will be on different foods.

Peanut butter has many qualities which bring it to the top of my go-to list.

Peanut butter…

is nutritious.

has a long shelf life.

doesn’t need refrigeration.

is a staple in a household with children.

can be eaten by people who have no teeth.

can be easily carried  in the pocket or backpack of a homeless person.

In short, Ramen noodles should be a choice.

Thank you for reading this post.  Please forward this article to your favorite social media network.

Ramen Noodles should be a choice.  Feed the hungry!

Thurman Greco

 

 

I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore!

It’s OUT!  It’s in print!  The story has been told!  And, you can get a copy.  Today!  Right now!

Simply go to thurmangreco.com and order it on paypal.

If you prefer, you can wait until next Wednesday, and get it on Amazon.

And, it’s beginning to appear in independent book stores.

What began as a project, guaranteed not to take no more than two hours a month has become a calling.  And, as of this week, it’s become a non-profit seeking  food and funds to feed the hungry.

It took more than five years of work.  Reams and Reams of paper were used.  Two computers blew up.  One copier died of exhaustion.

Get the book, read it, and let me know how you feel about what you read.

And, please share this unbelievably exciting news.

And, watch for the T-shirts!

I’ve got a food drive going now.  Please donate peanut butter.   Locally, you can donate food, at 31 Tannery Brook, Woodstock.

Any and all food and funds you donate will go to a food pantry.  You can send a check to Thurman Greco, 31 Tannery Brook, Woodstock, NY 12498.  OR, you can make a donation via paypal.  You can get to the paypal site by going to http://www.thurmangreco.com.

OR, you can give something directly to your local food pantry!

And, thank you in advance for understanding the situation and for sharing what you can with those who have less than you.

Help me FEED THE HUNGRY!

Peace and food for all.

Please share this article with your favorite social media outlet.

THANKS!

Thurman Greco

 

 

 

It’s Food Drive Time!

This is the season for a food drive! It’s food drive time!

Food drives are important in the spring and early summer because food pantry shelves are depleted now.  Storerooms are empty.  The emptiness will continue from now until the fall.

It’s food drive time!

Food pantries everywhere are trying to build their stocks up for the worst month of the year:  August.

So, now is a really good time for you to put on your generous hat and donate food to your food pantry!  There are a couple of ways to do this.

You can clean out your kitchen shelves and give the food you know you are never going to use to a nearby food pantry.  That’s an easy, and tried-and-true way to donate food.  But, if you want to get creative, there are other ways to go about donating food to a food pantry.

Do you have a birthday or anniversary coming up?  Invite everyone you know to a party celebrating your birthday or anniversary and ask everyone to bring  food for a food pantry instead of a gift.

Have a food drive where you ask someone in a group you belong to for donations.  This can be pretty easy.  You can have a work food drive or a school food drive or a church group food drive.  It really doesn’t matter what the group is.  What matters is that you and a group of your co-workers get together and give food to a food pantry to feed hungry people.

When you are planning a food drive, don’t forget that pantries are in need of items of dignity.  Now might be a good time to hold an Item of Dignity drive.  People are always looking for toothbrushes, toilet paper, razors, tampons.

Food Pantries are the first line of defense against hunger.

The truth is that food pantries are not perfect.  Not anywhere near perfect, actually.  And, they never will be.  How can they be near perfect when there is often not enough food in the pantry to feed the many people shopping there?

But, they get to be as near to perfection as they do because the people who work in them are often retired, elderly volunteers who really care and have the time to put in extra effort.

And, how can they be perfect when the food is mostly donated food that was on its way to the landfill before some enterprising person snapped it up for the hungry people in the line?

And, the truth is that food pantries, to a certain extent, are neighbors helping neighbors.  This is a wonderful attitude.

The positive energy is exhibited in this sharing wonderful world, indeed.  Without these wonderful people and their generous attitudes, people would be starving in this great nation of ours.  Food pantries are our first line of defense against hunger.

But, often these food pantries which depend to a great extent on the generosity of individuals simply don’t have enough food.  Insufficient is the word used.

Because there is little oversight, there is little control.  So, a person shopping at a pantry may get enough to eat or may not.  The quality of the food has little oversight.  So, the person shopping may be getting food which is all out-of-date, or which is food which cannot be eaten by the person needing the food.

An example of this is the person without teeth.  People without teeth are very restricted in what they can take because they can’t chew many foods.

Another example is the diabetic person who can only eat certain types of food without health problems.

And, all quality issues aside, there may simply be insufficient food in the pantry to feed the number of people shopping even though a pantry is the first line of defense against hunger.

Personally, in the Good Neighbor Food Pantry, I had a morning when I ran out of food.  I simply didn’t have enough food to give to the people.  This was an experience I’ll never forget.

Finally, the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program people sent down guidelines requiring that pantries serve a three-day-supply of food for each person in the household.  HPNAP guidelines required that pantries serve fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.  Pantries were asked to serve whole grain breads and low-fat milk.

This was a wonderful thing which I applauded enthusiastically when I learned about the guideline.  However, it was challenging to the many pantries without freezers and refrigerators.

The truth is that pantries everywhere simply don’t have enough food to meet the demand.

What can we do about this?  For starters, we can realize that pantries are our first line of defense against hunger in this country.

Then, we can follow up this realization with food donations throughout the year.

One can of something every week helps over time.  Find a pantry and give to help those in need.  Do you plant a garden in the summer?  Add a row for your pantry!

Thank you for what you are doing for those in need.

I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore – Coming Soon!

IT’S COMING SOON!

After countless reams of computer paper, dozens and dozens of writing classes, three computers and two copiers, the book about hunger is at the publisher’s!

And, I actually heard the word “done” today!  I’m ecstatic beyond words!

Somebody else could have done it with only one computer disaster  and  one copier blow up.  But, I never claimed to be a writer.

This endeavor took years.  And, it was worth it.    I felt  this story needed to be told when I started writing it in 2013 and I’m sticking to my opinion.  Hunger in America was then and is now a national event which needs to be shared.

A real Woodstock story, “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” tells about   the people in the pantry,  channels my grandmother,  and reveals a few  miracles.

I’m proud to say that “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” will, within days, be available in paperback and eBook editions on Amazon.

I am already scheduling book signings for this book.  If you are in the area, I look forward to seeing you at one near you!

You can purchase this book by going to my website at http://www.thurmangreco.com.

Order your copy, and please share this unbelievably exciting news!

Thurman

Please share this blog article with your preferred social media network!

 

Motel 19

Everyone coming to a pantry travels down a path.  For many, this journey is a real load lightener.  As the finances erode, the house goes.  And, of course, when the house goes, everything that was in it goes too.

Furniture, kitchen stuff, toys, clothes, tools, garden implements.  By the time a person or family gets to Motel 19, things have slimmed down to a few clothes, a blanket or two, a hot plate, or maybe an electric skillet or microwave.

For the families living in Model 19, the children are usually eligible for the school breakfast and/or lunch program.  But, that doesn’t cover eating at home.  And, there’s no lunch program for the adults.

So…it’s off to the pantry.

Several families usually pile in a car and come over for an afternoon of pantry shopping.  Or, an individual hitch hikes.  In order for this trip to succeed, several guidelines to follow will help:

Try to arrive an hour or so before the pantry opens.  This makes for a long wait but there’s more of a selection right when the pantry opens.  Also, while waiting in line, there’s an opportunity to make new friends and learn a few survival skills if you’re new to the pantry experience.

Bring your own shopping bags.  Some pantries don’t have enough of these much needed items.

Bring some ID.  Some pantries require much:  picture ID, proof of address, proof that other household members exist.  This can be a bit tough if you’re homeless.  Hint:  some pantries require little to no identification

Be prepared to wait in a line.  Use this time to meet your line neighbors.  They can be helpful if you’re trying to navigate your way through DSS, if you’re being foreclosed upon, need your car repaired, etc.

As you wait in line, try to learn how the pantry works from those around you in the line.  You’ll want to know how long you’ll be in the shopping room, what foods are usually on the shelves, what other pantries the people in line shop at, etc.

Don’t be afraid to let people know you’ve never been to a pantry.

Once you find a pantry you can use, go every time you’re allowed.  If you’re lucky, you’ll have a pantry in your area which will allow weekly visits.  Because pantry shopping takes so much time, shoppers sometimes just don’t go if they still have SNAP card money or if they have a few bucks left over from a paycheck.  Your best bet is to go every week.

Why?  Most pantries have different food every week and you may miss out on some real savings by not attending regularly.

Pantry shopping requires a totally new approach to cooking.  So does cooking with only an electric skillet or microwave.

Some pantries have periodic visits from a nutritionist.  Don’t be shy about asking him/her for any tips you might need to help this adjustment a bit easier for you.  Nutritionists  know a lot about the food you are now trying to cook with and they can answer any questions you might have.

Thanks for reading this blog post.

Please share this article with your favorite social media network.

PS:  This book is at the publisher’s now.  It will be available SOON!  You can order it at http://www.thurmangreco.com.

Thanks,

Thurman Greco

Help the Homeless

The world of people who are homeless may seem very foreign – But, it’s actually very near.  We meet people every day who are just like us, only they don’t have a roof over their heads.

We can all find ourselves without a roof when we lose a job.  Or, maybe a spouse  dies.  Possibly an accident which leaves physical disabilities is the cause.  In short, all it takes is a personal tragedy.

 

There are many things we can do to help end homelessness.  There are many, many things we can do to help those who are struggling with homelessness.

One easy way we can help is to take a little extra food along when we go out of our home to work or on errands.  A few extra sandwiches will help.  When a person asks for change, offer him or her a sandwich.

A couple of times each year, gather the clothes you are no longer going to wear and donate them to shelters and pantries providing services to help those who are homeless.

While you gather clothes for the homeless, look at your family’s toys, books, and  games and select those that are no longer being used.  Children living in shelters have few possessions and will enjoy them.

Can you spare an hour or two?  Tutors can make all the difference.  Volunteer to tutor children in shelters.

Celebrate your birthday or anniversary and ask the people you invite to bring items for the homeless.

Carry fast food certificates with you when you are going out.  Hand them out to people who are homeless.

Hold a food drive and take the food to a shelter or a pantry in your area.

Donate your collectable recyclable cans and bottles to people who are homeless.  Donate a bag of groceries to a soup kitchen, shelter, or food pantry.

Volunteer at a food pantry or shelter.

Volunteer your professional services.  Lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and dentists can all use your skills when you volunteer at a pantry or shelter.

Ask your company, church, school to host a fund-raising event for a pantry or homeless shelter.  Items of dignity are really needed by the homeless.

Thank you for reading this article!

Please refer this article to your favorite social media network.

Thurman Greco

PS:  The hunger book is really moving along.  Things just never get finished as quickly as we all wish.  Writing a book requires years and years of research and writing.  In writing the hunger book, I have gone through thousands and thousands of sheets of paper and three computers.  I have spent years and years getting this story moved  from an event in my life to a book which will attract you or not in less than two  minutes.

Whew!

The Homeless

The homeless have problems just like you and me:  employment, health issues, disabilities, domestic violence.   They just don’t have a roof over their heads.

Homeless people, families enter food pantries very quietly.  They’ve lost their voices.  The goal is to melt into the background, get food, and disappear.

There’s an exception to the voicelessness –  when the person communicates with beings unknown to the rest of us.  One shopper I know has been in another world since before I  began working in the pantry in 2005.  He communicates in a high, shrill, unknown tongue which I cannot describe.  His shrill vowels are punctuated with hard, sharp whistles, clicks, squeaks.

We can all help homeless people in some way.  Each of us has talents and skills which can be useful.

DONATE.  Homeless people carry their kitchens in their pockets .  So much food which we take for granted is just not helpful.  Important in the homeless diet is peanut butter and crackers in individually wrapped packages, cereal in self-serve packaging.  Fruits and vegetables which can be eaten raw, milk and/or fruit juice in individual containers.  Donate these items throughout the year by regularly giving the food to a food pantry in your area which is homlesss friendly.

VOLUNTEER.  Pantries everywhere need an extra set of hands to answer mail, drive a truck, serve food, clean up at closing time, send press releases, hold food drives, stock and straighten shelves, deliver food to the home bound.

CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSETS.  Donate clothing, bedding, books, and other gently used items to places where the homeless will have access to them.

SHARE.  Do you or someone you know have a garden?  Donate the excess to a homeless friendly pantry in your area.  When your garden tomatoes get to be too plentiful, there are those in your area who need the food.

PUSH THE ENVELOPE.  Contact elected officials about homeless issues in your area.  Encourage them to make ending homelessness important in your community.

EDUCATE YOURSELF.  Returning veterans have special needs.  For one thing, they begin separation from the military homeless.

FIND A JOB.  Encourage your church or community to hire a homeless person.  Many homeless want to work, have skills, but have trouble finding regular employment.

DO YOU HAVE A SKILL TO SHARE?  Contact a local shelter and offer to give classes.

For a time, one of our most trusted volunteer/shoppers was homeless.  His partner, Nancy,  died and her children didn’t want him in the house they had lived in together for many years.  He fought her children for a year with a lawyer, made several trips to court,  the whole enchilada.

He finally moved out and ended up homeless for a time.  He eventually got housing through a homeless veterans program.  I helped him move his clothes and things over to his new apartment in Saugerties.

Homelessness cannot be generalized.  Each homeless person is a special personality and has a special situation which s/he deals with.  So here’s my rule about homeless people:

IF YOU’VE SEEN ONE HOMELESS PERSON, YOU’VE SEEN ONE HOMELESS PERSON.

Thank you for reading this blog post.  Please share it with your preferred social media network.

BOOK UPDATE:  The new hunger book is going to be out soon.  The publisher assures me that we’re going to see the book within a month!  Hurrah!

Thanks again

Thurman