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Wyoming Spotlights Food Insecurity for Seniors

Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies delivered over 28,000 meals in 2016 to help seniors stretch limited budgets. (Pixabay)
Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies delivered over 28,000 meals in 2016 to help seniors stretch limited budgets. (Pixabay)
April 19, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - April is National Senior Hunger Awareness Month, and Wyomingites are rising to the challenge.

More than 10 million Americans age 60 and older are at risk of hunger every day, according to the National Council on Aging. Shanna Harris, director of the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies, said there are simple steps anyone can take to help people living on fixed incomes or with limited transportation options. She noted it's important to put a spotlight on food insecurity among seniors.

"These seniors, they're on fixed incomes, and they have to decide between medicine and food. They will take the medicine," Harris said. "People don't realize how frugal some of these seniors have to live."

One option, Harris said, is to volunteer with a local food bank or pantry. She said services for seniors also are easy to access by calling the state's 211 service, where you can enter a zip code to find meals and get help with rent, medical assistance or other needs.

Harris encouraged everyone to check in with their senior neighbors to make sure they're doing OK. Sometimes, she said, a home-bound person just needs some contact with the outside world and someone to check on the basics. Food Bank volunteers also deliver important food items to help stretch limited budgets.

"So that they have a variety of the fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, and dairy," Harris said. "Crackers and the cookies things like that, and then also maybe the canned fruits and vegetables, and then the meat."

Research has shown food insecurity contributes to such chronic medical conditions as diabetes, heart disease and depression. The relationship between hunger and health can become a vicious cycle because as low-income seniors spend more on health care, they have even less money for food.

NCOA research is online at, and the Journal of Nutrition research is at

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY