August 17th, 2017 – The Vermont Foodbank announced today the release of The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2015, a study about food insecurity among seniors in the U.S. produced by Feeding America and released in partnership with the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH). The report shows that nationally, 5.4 million seniors age 60 or older (8.1 percent) were food insecure in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. In Vermont, 7.5 percent of seniors were food insecure. Food insecurity refers to the lack of access to enough nutritious food.
Nationally, the 8.1 percent of seniors who are food insecure does represent a slight decrease over the prior year, and the first decline since 2009. Despite relative improvement, the rate and number of seniors affected remains well above pre-recession levels. In 2007 when the recession was just beginning, 6.3 percent and 3.2 million seniors were food insecure – 2.2 million fewer than the most recently reported total of food insecure seniors. These findings are further evidence that the benefits of the improved economy are not being enjoyed by all.
“With 7.5% of older Vermonters struggling with food insecurity, it is critical that we come together to take action,” says Vermont Foodbank CEO John Sayles. “We must work together to create a world where our older neighbors and family members have access to the nutritious food they need to live long, healthy, happy lives. We call upon individuals, businesses and the government to join us as we work toward our mission to ensure that no one in Vermont goes hungry.”
The Vermont Foodbank is one of 200 food banks in the Feeding America network that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans struggling with hunger. The Vermont Foodbank serves 153,000 Vermonters facing hunger annually. This figure includes 26,000 seniors. Working with a network of 225 food shelves, meals sites, and senior centers throughout the state, as well providing food directly to Vermonters at schools, hospitals, and housing units, the Vermont Foodbank distributed 12 million pounds of food in 2016.
In addition to supplying the state’s food shelves and meals sites with high quality, nutritious food, the Vermont Foodbank distributes monthly commodity boxes to more than 2,000 seniors throughout Vermont.. They also partner with Support and Services at Home (SASH) to provide healthy food to senior housing facilities throughout the state.
“The number of seniors facing hunger in this country remains unacceptably high. After lifetimes of hard work many of America’s seniors are put in the terrible position of having to choose between groceries and medical care,” said Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv. “These are parents, grandparents and cherished friends and we must ensur