Could you live on $435 each month? That’s the amount that 2.1 million seniors receive from Supplemental Security Income. Their struggle to live a quality life on that income is real and heartbreaking.
According to the National Council on Aging more than 25 million Americans age 60 and over are economically insecure. On a daily basis they contend with rising housing and healthcare bills, inadequate nutrition, lack of access to transportation, diminished savings, job loss and soul-crushing loneliness.
Fortunately, a program called Food for Seniors by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO) is providing a critical lifeline to our area’s seniors by providing monthly nutritional food boxes to seniors who meet federal income guidelines. The program works to improve the health of low-income elderly persons by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods.
Food for Seniors currently hosts food box distributions throughout all 64 Louisiana parishes, with more than 40 sites in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
“The program started in 1972 and we reach 51,000 people a month,” says Operation Manager Renee Davenport. “In addition, [it] educates clients about good nutrition by providing nutritional information that includes easy to make recipes using commodity foods, along with caloric intake, how to stretch food dollars and how to eat a healthy diet.”
Each month the boxes include: canned meat — either boneless chicken, beef, pork, tuna or beef stew — vegetables; fruits; a box of breakfast cereal or a bag of grits; oatmeal or Cream of Wheat; a two-pound block of American cheese; a two-pound package of either spaghetti, macaroni or rice; shelf-stable 1% milk; a 1.8-pound box of non-fat dry milk every other month; a jar of peanut butter or a two-pound bag of dried beans and fruit juice.
It’s amazing how much hope one box can bring.
“We have one senior who calls every day to check on when our next distribution date will be,” says Executive Director Tim Robertson. “She picks up one box from the Our Lady Star of the Sea location in the Seventh Ward for herself and one for an elderly couple that lives in her neighborhood in New Orleans East. To me, this just goes to show that this program is about more than just a box — it’s a gift to the community that keeps on giving.”
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans Mission:
Impelled by the love and teaching of Jesus Christ, while respecting the dignity and potential of all people, the organization collaborates to offer life-giving programs, advocate for the voiceless and empower the vulnerable to foster a just society.
CCANO Address: 1000 Howard Ave., Suite 200, 70113
Phone: (504) 523-3755; Toll-free: 1(866) 891-2210
How Businesses and Individuals Can Help:
Due to COVID-19, the program is in the process of developing a delivery model to help increase the reach to those seniors who cannot, or should not, pick up boxes. Anyone that may be able to help is encouraged to call Operations Manager Renee Davenport at (504) 245-7207.
In addition to financial assistance, the best way to help is by getting the word out and helping area seniors connect to this valuable resource. Food for Seniors is currently accepting enrollments for those who meet economic need and are 60+ years of age. Please call (504) 245-7207 for more information, including on enrollment.
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