FOOD Share Selected to Serve Special Population of Seniors in Ventura County
Ventura County’s Regional Food Bank Chosen by Federal Commodity Supplemental Food Program for Caseload of 3,500 Local Seniors
FOOD Share of Ventura County is one of just four California food banks recently selected in a competitive bid process to administer a USDA-funded Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for seniors 60 years of age and older. FOOD Share anticipates enrolling a monthly caseload of 3,500 seniors in the CSFP program and serving them through various distribution points across the county.
One in 12 seniors in Ventura County is hungry, a staggering statistic that is consistent with national numbers detailing the challenges faced by the nation’s fastest growing demographic group. Seven million seniors age 60 and older are served by the Feeding America network each year (Feeding America Senior Hunger Facts). 63% of this population reports choosing between medical care and food, 60% must sacrifice basic utilities or go hungry, and 58% forego transportation in order to eat (Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger After 50, 2013). Perhaps even more poignant is that 77% buy cheap, unhealthy food in an attempt to meet their basic caloric needs (Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger After 50, 2013).
FOOD Share’s administration of the CSFP nutrition program will address these specific senior challenges on a local level by providing “Senior Kits” on a once-monthly basis to qualifying participants age 60 and older whose income is equal to or less than 130% of the federal poverty level, or $15,444 per year. Food items included in the Senior Kits are specifically selected to fill the most common nutritional gaps experienced by hungry seniors. Working in collaboration with the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, the regional food bank currently has five CSFP distribution sites in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Fillmore, and Thousand Oaks. Additional distribution sites across the county are expected in the coming months.
Wholesome, quality nutrients are essential for overall health and wellness for people of every age. Conversely, a lack of access to the foods that provide these crucial vitamins and minerals can lead to the development of health issues and/or the exacerbation of existing conditions. Such adverse side-effects of hunger are even more detrimental for men and women over the age of 60. Feeding America’s study, Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans reports that hungry seniors are “60% more likely to experience depression; 53% more likely to report a heart attack; 52% more likely to develop asthma, and 40% more likely to experience congestive heart failure.”
“Seniors have always been a high priority for FOOD Share because we understand the significant challenges they face accessing the quality food sources and nutrition they need to live healthy lives,” said Susan Haverland, FOOD Share’s Vice President of Programs and Services. “The CSFP program will allow us to expand our outreach to this cherished population and to continue serving them with dignity.”
Seniors can enroll in the program during a distribution event and receive food immediately. Participation in the program requires a simple application, verification of age and residence using a photo ID and utility or other bill, and self-certification of income (no additional documentation required). Seniors who receive food from FOOD Share’s CSFP program are still eligible for CalFresh food stamp benefits. For more information on upcoming distribution dates and locations, seniors can contact their local senior center or visit www.foodshare.com.
# # #
About FOOD Share:
More than 35 years ago, eight citizens performed a good deed by distributing food to those who were in need underneath a Ventura bridge. The early philanthropic movement quickly formed into what is now Ventura County’s regional food bank, FOOD Share, which has grown from serving a few hundred hungry people per month to 74,500 people. Today, staff and volunteers distribute more than 12 million pounds of food, or 10 million meals annually from its distribution site; more than 180 partner agencies, which include neighborhood and church food distributions and soup kitchens; as well as hunger assistance programs. FOOD Share’s programs provide healthy nutrition and education to children, families and seniors, which include: KIDS’ Farmers’ Market, SENIOR Share, Nutrition Education, Community Market, and more. The regional food bank’s Feed the Line, Shorten the Line efforts draw together community stakeholders and other non-profit and community service organizations through programs such as Our Voice and the FOOD Share and Friends Mobile Pantry to provide county-wide access to resources that facilitate self-sustainability. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, FOOD Share is a member of the Feeding America network, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.
In 2016, FOOD Share is rallying the community behind a viral initiative encouraging the public, local businesses, major corporations and community leaders and stakeholders to help combat hunger through an outreach campaign called Share16. The Share16 Challenge asks the community to share ways in which they support FOOD Share by documenting their experiences and efforts on social media with the #Share16 hashtag.
For more information about FOOD Share, visit www.foodshare.com. Find us on Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter.
FOOD Share is dedicated to feeding the 1 in 6 Ventura County residents who is still hungry.
Mar 13, 2017