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Volunteers Across MD Launch Food Drive to Alleviate Senior Hunger

According to Maryland Hunger Solutions, older people who donít know where they will get their next meal are five times more likely than their food-secure peers to suffer from depression. (Pixabay)
According to Maryland Hunger Solutions, older people who donít know where they will get their next meal are five times more likely than their food-secure peers to suffer from depression. (Pixabay)
April 27, 2018

BALTIMORE – While hunger is a persistent issue in America, one group of people that many may not immediately recognize as struggling are senior citizens.

According to Feeding America, more than 5 million seniors are facing hunger. Sixty-three percent of households with seniors find themselves deciding between buying groceries or paying for their medical care.

To combat the issue, volunteers are running a food drive at local grocery stores, titled the "Spring Forward Harvest for the Hungry." Jennifer Holz, associate state director for outreach at Maryland's AARP office, says recent nationwide economic struggles have helped create the problem.

"What we've seen since the decline of the economy back in 2008-2009 was that the 50 plus generation was being hit very hard," says Holz.

According to Feeding America, only 42 percent of eligible seniors across America are receiving available SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps.

To find a food drive location near you, visit aarp.org/md.

Data from Maryland Hunger Solutions shows nearly 1 in 5 low-income residents 60 and older struggles with hunger. Older people who suffer from hunger are more likely to be depressed and have extended hospital stays.

The AARP-sponsored food drive will set up today and tomorrow at grocery stores across eight counties. Veronica Poole, project director at the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Frederick County, says helping is an easy process.

"Purchase some non-perishable goods, we'll have a list of some preferred items and they can purchase them when they're just getting their regular groceries and just donate to one of our tables on the way out," says Poole.

The drive has been a reality for six years. In 2017, AARP Maryland volunteers collected 8,500 pounds of food to help the cause.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD