Pantry food fills the gap of limited income.
In an attempt to remain independent, some seniors fall short on income to cover food expense.
When people think about food pantries, families with young children often come to mind. Catholic Charities Food Pantry serves 547 people over the age of 62 a monthly emergency food box annually.
For many senior citizens, their only source of income is social security. This monthly fixed income is often not enough to meet their basic needs. Some qualify for very limited food assistance through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but that is often around $11 per month. The older clients at Catholic Charities Food Pantry let us know they only come in when they absolutely have to, as they do not want to take limited resources away from a family with small children. The Catholic Charities staff often assures them that we are here for all in need throughout the year.
Ellen is in her late 70’s and continues to work for the school system. She took the job out of financial need but continues to work because she enjoys it. Her home was paid for years ago. Otherwise, she fears she would be homeless. The job in the school system puts her over the income eligibility for assistance such as SNAP. She relies on Catholic Charities Food Pantry to help meet the need of food. Ellen is one of the few senior citizens served at the pantry who are physically able to work.
Many seniors have food restrictions for health reasons. The pantry tries to accommodate these health needs by providing as much fresh produce as possible, and selecting canned and packaged foods with reduced sodium and sugar. Our move to a choice-style pantry will give clients more control over selections from the pantry as well. These intentional selections help us to ensure that we are not only addressing food insecurity, but we are distributing food items that are beneficial to our client’s health.