Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? This month, Generations United wanted to highlight some facts and resources for the millions of Americans struggling with hunger today.
According to AARP Foundation’s Food Insecurity among Older Adults, nearly nine million low-income seniors 50 and older are food insecure. Among that number are nearly one million grandparent caregivers, who are especially at risk of food insecurity because they have taken on the enormous responsibility of caring for their grandchildren. In addition, Share our Strength notes that more than 16 million children in America are at-risk of hunger.
A struggling economy has left many families living in poverty and having to choose between paying the mortgage and buying groceries. A number of programs and resources are available for families in need of nutritious meals.
Here’s a list of several programs that help children and older adults relieve hunger:
· Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly benefits that eligible low-income families can use to purchase food.
· Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) pays for nutritious meals and snacks for eligible children who are enrolled at participating child care centers, family child care homes, and after-school programs, and for older adults enrolled at adult day centers. CACFP meals give children and adults the nutrition they need as a routine part of their day care program.
· Home-Delivered Meals and Congregate Meals. These programs provide meals and other nutrition services to older individuals in a variety of settings, such as senior centers, or by home delivery for the homebound.
· Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals for health care and social services to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children (up to age five) who are at nutritional risk.
· The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost and is usually offered at local food pantries and soup kitchens.
These programs all help to give children, youth, and older adults the nutritious food they need to enrich growth and development and to maintain physical and mental health. This March, we encourage you to call your Members of Congress and ask them to make hunger a priority, because no one should go hungry.