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Call your Senators TODAY and urge them to pass the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Imagine working hard your entire life and finally reaching retirement, only to find that what retirement really means is even after a lifetime of hard work and savings, your limited resources just don’t go far enough and you have to make choices between paying your utility bills, filling your prescriptions or filling your cupboards.   Unfortunately, this is the reality for too many older adults in our country.  According to a new report released by the AARP Foundation, Food Insecurity among Older Adults [PDF], in 2009, nearly 4 million adults ages 60 and older were food insecure.  The report also found that there was a 25% increase in the rate of food insecurity among seniors 60 and older between 2007 and 2009. 

With hunger among older adults on the rise, the need to provide nutrition assistance has never been more important.  Feeding America’s food banks are seeing this every day.  A recent Feeding America study, Food Banks: Hunger’s New Staple, found that one out of every three Feeding America clients who visited a food pantry every month during the past year is 60 years of age or older.    

Unfortunately, at a time when older adults are struggling to meet their basic needs, some Members of Congress are proposing cuts that will make it even harder for many of them to put food on the table. 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.  Just one of the individuals that could potentially be impacted is 68-year-old David Coleman from New Jersey.  A few weeks ago, CBS News spoke with Mr. Coleman to discuss how he would be impacted by these proposed cuts.

"We are the backbone of this country; we helped to build this country,” said Mr. Coleman. “And if we put in our 40, 50 years of work and hard work in this country - then don't just turn your back on us and throw us out to pasture." 

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. 

For more information about hunger among older adults and nutrition assistance programs, please see NCOA’s Nutrition Advocacy Toolkit.


Eileen Hyde is the Senior Hunger Programs Specialist at Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Learn more at feedingamerica.org and by following us at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica and twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

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