In Colorado, 7.5% of older adults face hunger, forcing them to choose between purchasing groceries or paying other expenses.
After a lifetime of working, many older adults who looked forward to their golden years now find themselves worrying about their next meal. In fact, seniors being hungry is a nationwide epidemic. Nearly one in six seniors in America faces hunger.
Older adult hunger is so widespread that AARP reports that seniors face a healthcare bill of more than $130 billion annually due to medical issues stemming from hunger. Adequate nutrition is vital in helping seniors stay independent and healthy. Research shows that a lack of food contributes to chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and depression. The relationship between hunger and health can be a vicious cycle. As seniors living on limited and fixed incomes spend more on health care, they have even less to spend on food.
“When we retired, I thought we would have a good life. Then my husband died. My medical bills got higher, and I had trouble making ends meet. The food I receive from Community Table really helps me get by.” – Rita
At Community Table, we’re working hard to fight senior hunger. In 2022, 30% of the people who ‘shopped’ in our pantry were 60 or older. We know this percentage will only increase as the next largest cohort of people we serve is the 51 – 59 age bracket. That group makes up 18% of those who use our services.
As more and more older adults visit our pantry, we know we need to do more, especially for those who lack mobility and transportation. That’s why we’re expanding our mobile pantry program and introducing a new home delivery service. We designed our mobile pantry program to bring food to outlying areas, but it has had the most impact on senior living communities. In 2022, this service provided nearly 60,000 pounds of food to 2,000 older and disabled adult families living at senior complexes in Arvada and Wheat Ridge. Based on this success, we’re expanding our mobile pantry to senior living communities in Westminster, where we’ll provide an additional 1,000 boxes of food during the coming year. And our new delivery service will provide food to an additional 600 homebound senior and disabled adult families in the coming year.