Hunger Is Not a Disease

Can we break down the barriers?

GNP41Starving seniors?  Is that too harsh a term?

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 (for me…I’m certainly a grandmother) caught in a situation where there’s simply not enough food in the house.


The issues with seniors and food insecurity are serious because when seniors no longer have the $$$ to buy the food they need for proper nutrition or when they can no longer pay for the medications they need, they become ill and finally end up being taken care of by their children or they end up in a nursing home.

I know  stories about:

The older Woodstock woman living on mashed potatoes.

The woman who ended up in a nursing home when she was cut off from her take out food and didn’t have the resources or physical ability to get to a grocery store.

The older man who lacks funds for enough food and is slowly starving to death.


IF they can get to a pantry or connect with a pantry offering take out

IF they will sign up for SNAP (food stamps).

I was recently speaking with a retired man I know:

“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 alright without it.  Let someone else, needier than me, get the $$$.”

“Richard, think about getting SNAP.  This is a benefit you paid for.  This $$$ is waiting on the table for you.  You’re not the kind of guy who leaves $$$ 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 SENIORS PUT UP TO SNAP ARE GREAT.  Seniors resist going to a pantry, soup kitchen, getting SNAP until they simply cannot 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 with this event in sight and now that we’re here…there simply isn’t enough.

With this event comes the feeling of inadequacy and the self blame.  “I must have done something wrong.  Here I am living hand-to-mouth.  I don’t even have enough $$$ for food.  What did I do wrong?”

THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WHEN A WHOLE GENERATION OF PEOPLE BEGIN BLAMING THEMSELVES.  We’re really not totally to blame.  The rules have changed.  Because we’re retired, we’re not in the rules making game anymore.  Retirees by their very nature are disempowered.  Whatever happened to the Gray Panthers?

FOOD INSECURITY AMONG SENIORS IS AN EPIDEMIC.  People  work on both a state and national level to make SNAP more available to seniors.  The least we can do is get a card and use it.

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Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco