More elderly also needing food assistance
By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection
Those dreams of a traditional retirement of travel and hobbies and relaxation are being delayed for more Americans. A new survey finds that 16 percent of those age 65 and older are still in the work force, and finances are a big reason.
Seniors are also reaching out more than ever for help in putting food on the table, said Jill Martinez, communications manager with Hunger Solutions Minnesota.
“We’re finding that, over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in usage for seniors,” she says. “We don’t want them to be skipping meals. Their medications don’t work properly, and it’s just not good for overall health to be doing that.”
Martinez says nearly 7,000 calls came into the Minnesota Food HelpLine last year, and about one-third of them were people age 65 and over.
Martinez says it’s not just seniors who can reach out for assistance.
“If you’re a single parent or a family with children, if you’re struggling with a job layoff, we can help you find different resources in your area to help you get assistance for purchasing food or getting free food or meals.”
Martinez says nearly 90 percent of the people who call are eligible but not yet enrolled for food stamps, or what are now called SNAP benefits. She says getting that assistance can really help bridge the gap when times get tough.
“You can hang onto your house, pay your mortgage or your rent, afford to pay your other bills, and usually people are just on assistance for, on average, about nine months until they get back on their feet.”
According to Hunger Solutions Minnesota, one person in 10 in the state does not get adequate nutrition. Anyone, statewide, can call the HelpLine at (888) 711-1151.
More information is at HungerSolutions.org.