Seniors often find themselves having to choose between paying for necessities such as medication and food. That’s where the Food Bank’s Senior Food Program comes in. We provide seniors 55 and over with nutritionally balanced bags of food twice a month so they may not have to make those tough decisions. Learn more below about seniors in need in our community with key statistics and stories from the seniors we help.
- 7.4 percent of seniors (65 and older) in Contra Costa and Solano counties live below the federal poverty level ($15,130 per year for a household of two in 2012). (US Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2011)
- In Contra Costa and Solano, 40.1% of those surveyed reported government assistance as the main source of household income. Checks from the Social Security Administration, Unemployment Compensation, Disability (SSDI/Workers Compensation) and Supplemental Security Income do not cover the daily cost of living. (Food Bank Hunger in America study, 2010)
Read stories below from seniors who have received assistance through our Senior Food Program. Real names are not used.
Velia and Charlie, Vallejo Senior Food Program
Velia – a retired RN – and her husband, Charlie, cannot live on their disability alone. The Senior Food Program really helps supplement their resources. Velia says, “We are so low-income we can barely pay the bills. We really like the Farmer’s Market coupons (referring to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program that gives coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income seniors). I know fresh fruit and vegetables are really important for good nutrition.” For Velia and Charlie the food at the Senior Food Program lasts a while. “We don’t need to come here every time. I look for the food ads and only buy what is on sale except things I have to get like milk and eggs. You don’t really have a choice on those.” Velia tells us that they are not getting cost of living increases this year and how grateful she and Charlie are for this program. “Years ago we used to donate to the Food Bank and the Christian Help Center.”
Thaddeus, Walnut Creek Senior Food Program
“Thaddeus is my biblical name. I speak French, German, Italian, Russian,” he said with an accent lingering from the five years he says he lived in France.
The 90-year-old former translator (who says he can read many literary classics in their original language) has been coming to the monthly Food Bank distribution for about six months.
“I lost my job at 65,” the Pleasant Hill resident said. “I’m here because of low old-age pension. Every year my costs are going up. Now I don’t have enough money for food and my living expenses. When you get old, they don’t care anymore. It’s very cruel,” he said as he gave one of his bags of food to his friend who came to help.