A Bread for the World analysis released today indicates that hunger among senior Americans is on the rise. However, federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) have helped slow the increase in hunger among this agegroup.
“Our grandparents who worked hard all their lives now have to choose between eating or purchasing their medication,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “This is a choice no one, especially the elderly, should have to make in a country as rich asours.”
Seniors – adults age 65 and older – make up 12.9 percent of the U.S. population. The analysis, “Keeping the Dream Alive: Hunger by the Numbers Among Older Americans,” indicates that 3.9 million seniors live below the povertyline.
The amount of seniors experiencing hunger increased by 88 percent between 2001 and 2011. Programs like SNAP and Meals on Wheels have helped curb this rise. However, if trends continue, the hungry elderly will increase by 50percent.
Unfortunately, cuts to safety net programs like SNAP as well as the stigma attached to these programs have prevented some seniors from receiving the support theyneed.
“We must protect these vital programs and erase the stigma that prevents many seniors from applying for these programs,” said Beckmann. “These programs are a ‘hand-up,’ not a handout.” Bread’s analysis, “Keeping the Dream Alive: Hunger by the Numbers Among Older Americans” coincides with the observance of Older Americans Month in the UnitedStates.
For more analysis, see “Keeping the Dream Alive: Hunger by the Numbers Among OlderAmericans.”
Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home andabroad.