AARP Massachusetts took part in the 3rd Annual Elder Hunger Forum, held on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, at the Boston Public Library. The forum is organized by the Elder Services program of ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development). The event was moderated by Emily Shea, commissioner, Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly.
The event consisted of two panel discussions: the ABCD Food Dollars Program; and a focus on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, as well as barriers to enrollment faced by seniors.
Mike Festa, state director, AARP Massachusetts, served on the SNAP panel, along with Brittany Mangini, SNAP outreach coordinator, Greater Boston Food Bank; Patricia Baker, senior policy analyst, Mass Law Reform Institute; and Vidya Tikku, interim director, Boston Region, The Trustees of Reservations.
AARP Foundation was a co-sponsor of the forum, and is an ABCD partner. Mike Festa highlighted the national charge of AARP Foundation in the fight against food insecurity among older Americans. The primary goal of AARP Foundation’s Hunger Impact Area is to increase access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food for the low-income 50-plus population.
The Foundation works to redefine hunger as a health issue and leverages the commercial food supply chain in order to gain efficiencies and improve access and reduced costs for low-income older adults. The Foundation is also dedicated to addressing the root causes of hunger and creating sustainable, policy-oriented change. Foundation staff works with a wide variety of stakeholders to help provide scale, infrastructure, expertise, and resources to elevate a national network.
Festa also shared information about AARP Massachusetts’ local approach to combating hunger in Boston and surrounding communities, and explained the office’s broad SNAP outreach initiative, known to many anti-hunger advocates and outreach workers in attendance at the forum.
For more information about SNAP Outreach, please contact Sylvie Thomas at AARP Massachusetts, by calling 1-866-215-3402 or emailing her at email@example.com.