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Tag ‘ seniors ’

Seniors Choose Between Groceries and Medicine

Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: After a lifetime of work, many seniors are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between paying for health care or buying groceries. Because seniors often need medication to maintain their health, many elderly Americans must choose between medicine and the foods they need to stay healthy.

Limited mobility and dependence on outside assistance makes seniors particularly vulnerable to hunger. Food insecurity among this vulnerable population is especially troublesome because they have unique nutritional needs and may require special diets for medical conditions.

According to Hunger in America 2010, among client households with seniors, 30 percent have had to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care.

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano provides groceries twice a month to seniors right in their own communities and partners with other nonprofit organizations to get food to those seniors that need it most.

One of the first direct distributions the Food Bank established was the Senior Food Program. Beginning with 50 recipients, we have grown the Senior Food Program to 3,300 seniors at 28 sites in Solano and Contra Costa counties. Last year, more than 1.3 million pounds of food went to the senior citizens who participate in this program.

Senior hunger is of particular importance in Contra Costa and Solano counties, where so many seniors rely on the Food Bank each month to put food on their tables.

As our elected officials make decisions about state and federal budgets, it’s important that our community know that many of our seniors right here in Contra Costa and Solano counties rely on both federal nutrition programs and food banks to get by each month.

To learn more about how you can help, please visit www.foodbankccs.org/seniorhunger.

Stories from the Creek, Part 1

Guest post by John VanLandingham, Food Bank volunteer: Every month, approximately 100 people appear at St.Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek to receive free food distributions from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano counties. Many of those are collecting for more than one person. Here are some of their stories.

 “I’m here because of low old-age pension. Every year my costs go up.”

Thaddeus, 90, Pleasant Hill

Thaddeus waited at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s parking lot in Walnut Creek for a friend while holding a couple of bags full of groceries. His bags contained fresh fruit, meat, bread, canned goods and some other staples this month.

Thaddeus was among the approximately 110 persons receiving food donations from Contra Costa-Solano Food Bank volunteers, many of them elderly, some disabled.

“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 any more. It’s very cruel,” he said as he gave one of his bags of food to his friend who came to help.

Thaddeus explained that he does live with a family in Pleasant Hill.

For more information on our programs and services, please visit the Give Help page of our website.