The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama provides more than 640,000 meals a year to hungry people in their greatest time of need. In recent years, an increasing number of those needing help have been seniors. A needs assessment of older adults, conducted by the Community Foundation in 2015 identified challenges that can lead to food insecurity including financial instability, lack of access to fresh produce and even living alone. As Kathryn Strickland, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank, asserts, “These seniors never expected to be in this position and they don’t like to ask for help.” In response to this persistent need the Food Bank launched Ending Senior Hunger in Alabama and reached out to the Foundation to help address the gaps in service faced by seniors.
A $30,000 grant from the Foundation helped connect underserved seniors to healthy food by delivering fresh produce and high protein foods to senior public housing facilities in Blount County, expanding the hospital pantry at UAB to serve senior patients screened for food insecurity, and assisting eligible seniors to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Since awarding the grant in May, 2017, UAB has screened senior patients for food insecurity and learned that 74% of screened patients don’t have enough food to last through the month. “Thanks to this grant, now the Food Bank can provide seniors facing food insecurity with the fresh, healthy food they need,” says Kathryn.