Forced to Choose: Housing, Medicine or Food - Capital Area Food Bank
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Forced to Choose: Housing, Medicine or Food

By Marian Peele May 30, 2012

After a lifetime of contributing to society, many seniors often live on fixed incomes and are forced to make impossible decisions like choosing between paying for prescriptions or buying groceries. Expensive medications, limited mobility and dependence on outside assistance make seniors particularly vulnerable to hunger.
According to the 2010 Hunger in America study, of those client households with seniors, 30 percent had to choose between paying for food or medical care.
The Capital Area Food Bank’s Senior Brown Bag Program provides a supplemental bag of groceries to over 3800 seniors each month. Seniors receive 8-10 pounds of shelf stable items along with fresh produce and a “Bag It Up!” newsletter, which features relevant news and recipe ideas. The items in the Brown Bags are low in salt, sugar and cholesterol since most of the seniors enrolled in the program have health complications.
The Senior Brown Bag Program relies heavily on volunteers who package the food monthly and coordinate the program. In most cases, the site coordinators are also low income elderly that receive brown bags.
Without the Brown Bag Program, many seniors would be at risk for malnourishment and illness. Buying food, especially nutritious food, is often last on their list.
In addition to monthly food distributions, the Brown Bag Program also provides seniors with a turkey basket each Thanksgiving.