Grant supports local effort to connect older adults with SNAP

When it comes to eating a healthy diet, millions of Americans 65 and over face a double whammy: a fixed income, and rising food costs.

Nationally, adults age 65 and older have an average annual income of $46,627, and they spend more than $5,500 – nearly 12 percent – on food. Additionally, this year those who rely on Social Security received just a 0.3 percent increase in their Cost of Living Adjustment. Their friends just 10 years younger have a greater income averaging $75,262 annually, and they spend less – 9.3 percent – on groceries.

Treasure Coast Food Bank recently was awarded a grant to support a nationwide effort by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to help older adults struggling to buy groceries apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to supplement their food budget.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that just 2 out of every 5 seniors who are eligible for SNAP are enrolled in the program. This means that millions of low-income older adults are missing out on this vital program, which provides an average monthly benefit of $110 to help participants buy healthy food.

Treasure Coast Food Bank is one of more than 30 community organizations across the country that is stepping up its efforts to assist seniors in applying for SNAP. The organizations will use NCOA’s free online BenefitsCheckUp® tool (www.BenefitsCheckUp.org) to screen older adults with limited income for SNAP eligibility. Since 2014, the initiative has screened almost 400,000 people for SNAP eliegibility, and helped nearly 70,000 seniors apply for SNAP.

“We’re excited to be part of this proven effort that has the potential to help low-income older adults on the Treasure Coast improve their health and financial security,” said Judith Cruz, CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “Treasure Coast Food Bank has a strong history of helping seniors in need. We’re confident that increasing SNAP enrollment with BenefitsCheckUp® and other proven outreach methods will have a profound effect on lives of seniors in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties.”

To find out more about SNAP eligibility, contact Treasure Coast Food Bank at 772-489-3034, email to info@tcfoodbank.org  or visit the Your Plate section of stophunger.org

For more information on NCOA’s senior hunger initiative, visit ncoa.org/SeniorHunger.



ABOUT TREASURE COAST FOOD BANK
Treasure Coast Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization on Florida’s Treasure Coast, providing the community each year with millions of meals valued at more than $50 million through robust programs and in partnership with 400 charitable organizations in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties. In addition to emergency food distribution, Treasure Coast Food Bank operates a full roster of direct service programs that not only solve the immediate problem of hunger, but help individuals and families gain long-term food security, better health outcomes, and self-sufficiency. Treasure Coast Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States.

About NCOA
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.