Senior Nutrition Program provides a hand up for Delaware seniors

February 26, 2019

When you think of retired life do you envision travel? Fun with grand kids? Carefree-living?

Unfortunately, for far too many Delaware seniors, retired life does not equate to traveling, fun or care-free living. Many of our state’s seniors are making difficult decisions – pay for medicine or buy food? Pay the heating bill or buy groceries?

8.5 percent of Delaware seniors are currently living in poverty. To help ease the financial burden of living on a fixed income, more than 2,300 seniors participate in our monthly Senior Nutrition Program. Food for the program is supplied through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Partnerships with senior housing complexes and centers, churches, and other agencies enable us to distribute these monthly boxes efficiently and at locations that are convenient for seniors.

Program participants receive a variety of shelf-stable food including canned goods, beans, juice, cereal and more. A block of cheese and other perishable goods like produce are also distributed when available.

Many of the seniors who participate in the monthly program never imagined spending retirement struggling to make ends meet.

One program participant said, “If it weren’t for it, I couldn’t make it. Money doesn’t go too far. You pay your insurance and taxes and all that and you’re broke.  I never envisioned needing help like this.”

Gwendolyn picks up her monthly box in Milford. She suffers from stage three chronic kidney disease and appreciates that the program helps supplement her monthly SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit allotment. Other Food Bank programs like SNAP Education have helped Gwendolyn prepare nutritious meals on a very limited budget.

“When you have a special situation like that, you’re trying to use whatever comes in, she pointed out. “I come here [monthly senior distribution] and then see what I can supplement with food stamps. I do my own baking and stuff. I can do it with low salt. It has helped me to stabilize the readings.”

Gwendolyn spent her life caring for others. When she lived in New York she ran a home for individuals with Alzheimer’s and those needing hospice care.

Even in retirement, Gwendolyn cares for others. Up until her friend’s death in November, she made sure they all got to the monthly distribution.

“I want you to know how critical [the food] was to their family,” she said.

For these seniors, the Senior Nutrition Program is a lifeline.

“I tally it [monthly budget] up and look at it and try to figure out what it is I really need,” Gwendolyn explained. “That’s why I do a lot of research, then I can try to find something at the lowest cost.”

Are you a senior over the age of 60 living on a fixed income? You may qualify for the monthly Senior Nutrition Program. Click here to learn more! 

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