What can we do to help older Americans who are struggling? The conversation has started—add your ideas on how we can improve programs and services around employment, nutrition, health, housing, and transportation for vulnerable seniors in your community.
During the first day of the SNAP Challenge, I thought a lot about my grandmothers, both of whom knew how to stretch a dollar to feed their families.
My maternal grandmother, Thelma, raised five children on my grandfather's railroad salary and the money she brought in by running a daycare in her home. During the Great Depression, her family relied on bruised and damaged vegetables from the local grocery when they couldn't afford produce.
I approached my shopping trip to prepare for the SNAP Challenge armed with the 4 Cs: coupons, calculator, club card, and cash. With a budget of only $20, I wanted to make sure I was ready for the bargains.
I went to my local supermarket on Saturday to buy my food for the week, and learned several lessons even before starting to live on my tight budget.
Today was the first SNAP lunch, consisting of rice and beans, a sweet potato, and some greens. It was definitely a much smaller portion than what I’m used to eating for a work lunch.
As I reflect on how to make this week work on the less-than-$5-a-day budget, I think about my grandmother, Momma Carol. She lived in the same apartment for 40 years and three of her neighbor/friends were there for 30+ years...
Could you eat healthy on $3.84 per day? That’s the challenge for the 2.85 million seniors who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for food help – on only $119 per month (national average). And now it’s our challenge, too. From March 5-9, 2012, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) will sponsor the first-ever SNAP Challenge by a national organization serving older adults.
After losing her job, Ms. H was forced to move back to New York and live with her sister, where she was introduced to the PathStone Corporation, one of NCOA’s Economic Security Service Centers. Today, Ms. H has a great place to live, has a community service position, and receives benefits that help pay her bills.
Mr. J lost his home in a fire. With meager resources and not enough work credit to receive Social Security, he struggled to meet his basic needs. Fortunately, Mr. J connected with United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona, one of NCOA’s Economic Security Service Centers. Thanks to United Way, Mr. J now receives benefits and is on the path to once again work and live in his own home.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is one of many anti-hunger programs facing cuts. This program, which primarily serves seniors 60 years and older, provides a monthly box of food to 604,000 individuals who earn less than $14,300 a year. The House of Representatives has proposed cutting this program by $38 million this coming year. If these cuts are made, approximately 150,000 people, mostly seniors, will lose their monthly boxes of food.
Right now, we have an opportunity to show Mr. Coleman and the other 603,999 individuals who receive CSFP that we haven’t turned our backs. On November 1st, the Senate will vote on the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which includes a provision to protect CSFP from being cut. Please call your Senators and urge them to pass the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. You can find your Senators' names and their phone numbers here or dial the switchboard number: 202-224-3121. Together, we can create a hunger-free America where every senior has access to the nutritious food they need for healthy aging.