Tallahassee, Fla. — More than 700 older Big Bend residents can rest a little easier in 2017, thanks to a $5,000 grant provided by AARP Florida to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Big Bend.
“We’re delighted to work with Second Harvest Food Bank of the Big Bend to support the Senior Grocery Program, which provides food packages to older residents of the Big Bend region through a series of partnerships,” said Leslie Spencer, associate state director for advocacy in the Tallahassee area. “At a time when older people face a lot of uncertainty, at least these older people will know where some of their meals are coming from.”
Spencer announced the donation Wednesday at a news conference with Rick Minor, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of the Big Bend. Minor said the Senior Grocery Program plays an especially important role for older people in the Big Bend who may struggle to get enough to eat, because the program focused on providing food that can meet special dietary needs of older people, such as high-protein, low-fat meats, low-sodium meals and easy-to-prepare food.
AARP, the AARP Foundation and AARP state offices and volunteers have worked for years to help support efforts to improve nutrition for older people of modest means.
Spencer noted that some older Floridians in the Big Bend area face rising economic pressures as they struggle to pay bills for food, housing, health care and other necessities. For example, a December 2016 AARP study found that prescription drug prices for 268 commonly prescribed medications rose 15.5 percent in 2015, more than 150 percent faster than general inflation.
According to a 2015 AARP study, about one in 10 Americans age 40 or older have low or very low “food security,” meaning they often don’t have enough food. Senior hunger has been on the rise since at least 2007, and it poses serious health risks for older people.