Updated: Apr 4, 2019
By Steven Courtney, CalFresh Outreach Manager, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano
For 74 year-old Theresa of Antioch, her retirement years are anything but golden. Theresa shares, “I thought my older years would be easy. Instead of easy, I’m not making it”. Theresa is not unique. For a growing number of seniors, that is the reality. For a troubling number of Contra Costa and Solano County seniors, they have to choose between paying rent, filling prescriptions or purchasing food.
More and more seniors are being referred to as the “hidden hungry”. It is estimated that nationwide 1 in 11 seniors face hunger each day, which often goes unnoticed as many live alone and face mobility issues. The news isn’t any better in California where the number of food insecure, low-income seniors has nearly doubled from 2001 to 2014. Seniors make up the fastest growing food-insecure population in the U.S. Food insecurity is especially troubling for our senior population since so many are on medications that must be taken with food and because sustained good health is dependent on consistent proper nutrition.
CalFresh, a nutrition assistance program, could be the answer for many limited income seniors. CalFresh provides seniors with a monthly benefit auto-loaded to an EBT (electronic benefit) card, similar to an ATM card that can be discretely used at most grocery stores, neighborhood stores and farmers’ markets. This valuable monthly resource provides eligible seniors relief from deciding to pay rent or buy wholesome, healthy food. CalFresh is not a Welfare program – It is a program developed to provide monthly food access to folks struggling to meet their monthly grocery bill.
CalFresh is a dependable nutritional safety net available to eligible s