As the number of Americans who are 60 and older increases, far too many seniors struggle with hunger and food insecurity. In the U.S., 1 in 10 households with seniors face food insecurity. Recently, six anti-hunger advocates from around the nation participated in FRAC’s State Leadership Workshop on Senior Hunger, which was generously funded by The Retirement Research Foundation, to identify strategies for ending senior hunger.
Representing the Association of Arizona Food Banks, Florida Impact, Hunger Free Oklahoma, Kansas Appleseed, Nebraska Appleseed, and the Tennessee Justice Center, this group of advocates dove deep into senior hunger and senior nutrition programs, how to collaborate with state-level partners to eradicate senior hunger, and effective communication strategies that can elevate the issue and outline available solutions.
The participants shared stories related to senior hunger, highlighting the necessity of their work and serving as motivation for further advocacy. One compelling story came from Cassandra Lockridge, SNAP access coordinator for the Tennessee Justice Center:
“67-year-old William ‘Calvin’ Monroe of Dyersburg, Tennessee, is a local artist and grandfather of two. He worked as a contractor for decades, including building 28 houses and overseeing contract work for a large hospital. In 2011, he had three heart attacks, requiring an emergency quintuple bypass surgery. Since the surgery, his doctors have ordered him not to return to work. He relies on SNAP benefits to help supplement his fixed income. When his SNAP benefits were cut, he called Tennessee Justice Center for help. We helped Mr. Monroe appeal and document the medical expenses he has each month, allowing him to regain the support he needs to have enough healthy food and make ends meet.”
The daylong training equipped the advocates with tools for implementing state-level actions for addressing senior hunger, particularly actions involving expanding seniors’ enrollment in SNAP. Several participants, including Trudy Novicki, president and CEO of Florida Impact, noted the impact of FRAC’s workshop:
“Thanks so much to FRAC for taking a leadership role in bringing together a group of advocates who have recognized the hidden hunger of the older adults within Florida. I was so inspired by the personal stories of those who attended and was enriched by the knowledge FRAC brought to the table. Florida has the second-highest number of older individuals in our country, and we are ready to work with FRAC to ensure that they receive the healthy meals they need at this stage of their lives.”
For more information on SNAP and ending senior hunger and food insecurity, visit FRAC.org.