FOOD INSECURITY ON THE RISE WITH SENIORS IN BALTIMORE
Seniors are one of our most vulnerable groups living in Baltimore City and in Baltimore County. Due to living on fixed incomes, many seniors live below poverty level. With a projected fixed-income of $240 a week or less, how can seniors afford three square meals after paying for housing utility and medical expenses?
Given these circumstances, it can be easy to imagine that many seniors living independently are enduring food insecurity issues. It’s also easy to confuse hunger and food insecurity since both are closely related, however, both are different concepts. While hunger refers to a physical sensation of discomfort, food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resource for food in households.
Overall, food insecurity is a socioeconomic issue that has adversely affected their overall health by significantly reducing vital nutrients needed to live a longer, healthier, life.
With a rise in food insecurity, more seniors will suffer from poor nutrition which can lead to chronic disease and functional limitations. Food insecurity is inked to more health problems such as heart attacks, depression, asthma, diabetes, and physical function limitations in daily life.
Older adults with chronic conditions that experience food insecurity endure higher health care costs compared to seniors with similar conditions who are not food insecure. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) found that adults experiencing food insecurity had annual health care expenditures $1,834 higher than adults who were food-secure.
Many seniors in Baltimore City and in Baltimore County suffer from food insecurity issues due to multiple reasons:
· Living in a Food Desert region of Baltimore City/Baltimore County
· No transportation access to go to a grocery store
· Mental/Physical barrier to prepare food at home due to illness
· Living alone and not having personal care.
· Living off a fixed income
· Financial hardship
· No grocery store nearby
· Living with a disability
· Living below the poverty level
· Renting instead of owning a home
· Lack of Social support
The Salvation Army of Central Maryland’s Commodity Food Supplemental Program (CFSP) ensures over 2,000 seniors are delivered a week’s worth of groceries as part of a nutritious, supplemental, grocery program. The Salvation Army is also partnered up with the USDA, Meals on Wheels, and the Department of Aging to expand this service to all seniors in need in Baltimore City and in Baltimore County.
If you are a senior above the age of 65 and need groceries delivered to your home, please call Meals on Wheels at: #410-558-0532 to be a part of our CFSP grocery program.
Another reason our CFSP program is a big success is because of many of our volunteers!
Volunteers who want to give back and help seniors fight food insecurity donate their time every Saturday at our CFSP warehouse by packing grocery boxes. A week ago, over 60 volunteers came by one Saturday morning and packed over 41 pallets worth of food. Thus, breaking the food packaging record set by the Baltimore Rotary club.
Interested in volunteering to pack grocery boxes at our CFSP warehouse on the weekends? E-mail our Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator, Samantha Bowman at: [email protected] to schedule a date and time.