April is National Senior Hunger Awareness Month, and Coloradans are rising to the challenge. More than 10 million Americans age 60 and older are at risk of hunger every day, according to the National Council on Aging.
Kevin Seggelke, president and CEO of the Food Bank of the Rockies, said there are simple steps anyone can take to help people living on fixed incomes or with limited transportation options. He said it’s important to put a spotlight on food insecurity among seniors.
“I just think there’s a false assumption that, you know, you get to a certain age, and ‘hey, you got it made – you’re on Social Security – it’s all good, now no need to worry,’” Seggelke said. “And nothing could be further from the truth for many, many seniors.”
He said one way to help is to volunteer with a local food bank or pantry. Seggelke said services for seniors are easy to access by calling the state’s 211 service, where Coloradans can enter a zip code to find meals and get help with rent, medical assistance or other needs.
Seggelke said he encourages everyone to check in with their senior neighbors, to make sure they’re doing OK. He said sometimes, a home-bound person just needs some contact with the outside world, and someone to check on the basics.
And of course, Food Bank volunteers also deliver important food items to help stretch limited budgets.
“We do a senior box once a month,” he said. “Last year we did in Colorado roughly 104,000 boxes. They will invariably contain some kind of protein, perhaps canned fruit and canned vegetables. The boxes, you know, rotate every month.”
Research has shown food insecurity contributes to such chronic medical conditions as diabetes, heart disease and depression. The relationship between hunger and health can become a vicious cycle. As low-income seniors spend more on health care, they have even less money for food.
Public News Service – CO