Approximately 1,000 Vermonters are turning 65 every month. That’s probably the largest population shift currently taking place, and it will continue for a number of years.

John Sayles

John Sayles addresses 300 attendees at the Foodbank’s Annual Hunger Conference in Killington, VT on Friday, May 8, 2015. This year’s conference focused on the intersection of hunger, health and nutrition.

Many new seniors’ situations are not as secure as those of seniors in the previous generation: they don’t have pensions or large retirement accounts and may have to keep working to make ends meet. And new seniors who depend on social security and small 401(k) accounts may struggle from the beginning, even before health issues and other consequences of aging begin.

Support for your Vermont Foodbank helps ensure that our senior neighbors get enough nutritious food every day to keep them healthy, vital, and engaged in our communities.

Working with Support and Services at Home (SASH), every two weeks your Foodbank provides a direct distribution of fresh vegetables directly to seniors where they live. At a housing site, the Vermont Foodbank staff sets up a festive farmers’ market atmosphere for our older neighbors who might have limited transportation or who are homebound. Last fall, a gentleman was very excited to get fresh radishes. He said he had grown up eating them with butter and hadn’t had any in a long time.

The direct distribution to senior housing sites is also a place where the Foodbank helps seniors sign up for 3SquaresVT, Vermont’s name for the federal food stamp program. Only 40% of eligible seniors are signed up, and Sally Ingraham, the Foodbank’s 3SquaresVT outreach coordinator, is on a mission to get them all the benefits they have earned by working so hard over the years. That extra food money usually results in healthier choices at the grocery store.

Your Foodbank also delivers more than 3,200 boxes filled with grocery staples each month to low-income seniors across the state under the federal Commodity Supplemental Food (CSFP) Program. The federal government provides about half of the program’s cost, and the Foodbank, with your help, provides the rest to make sure Vermont seniors get the extra help they need. Often the Foodbank adds perishable products to the boxes as well. Items like fresh produce and dairy are always a hit.

These interactions with seniors provide another opportunity to find out whether they are eligible for 3SquaresVT and other benefits to help them remain healthy and engaged community members.

Many people see the Foodbank as an organization that just distributes food to food shelves and meal sites. But we do so much more, working in tandem with other public and private service providers to connect our struggling neighbors, including seniors, with all the supports available.

Hunger does not exist in isolation, and we can’t solve it without coming together as a community. Everyone needs a solid platform from which to launch a childhood, an education, a career, or the golden years. Supporting the Vermont Foodbank keeps a critical link in place.

Thank you, and please continue to give generously.
John Sayles, CEO

PS: $10 helps provide 30 meals to seniors, children and working families. Please consider making a gift today.


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