6 Programs That Can Help Seniors Put Food On the Table

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It’s getting harder for people to put food on the table. The economy and rampant inflation are causing costs to rise in every aspect of our lives. From 2021 to 2022, food prices rose more than 10 percent, the most significant increase since the 1980s.

With many seniors living on a fixed income, it’s important that they find a way to meet these rising costs. Luckily these programs can help put food on the table and give you one less financial issue to be concerned about.

FYI: Food isn’t the only financial concern for seniors. To learn more about stretching your dollar, read our guide to surviving the bear market.

Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

The Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides low-income individuals with access to locally grown vegetables, fruit, honey, and herbs, which allows them to eat more nutritious and healthily. The program also provides support for local farmers. The benefits can be used at a farm that sells products, a farmers’ market, and roadside food stands.

To qualify for the SFMNP, your income must be less than 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for your state. That means your income can be at most $25,142 annually for a two-member household.

Child and Adult Care Food Program

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) helps children and adults enrolled in specific care centers, providing reimbursement for nutritious meals and snacks. Individuals qualify if they are a child enrolled in an after-school care program or child care center, or reside in an emergency shelter. Adults over 60 who are enrolled in adult day care centers are also eligible for benefits.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) seeks to promote the well-being of low-income people ages 60 or older. The program accomplishes this by providing nutritious USDA foods to supplement their diets. The USDA allocates food items and administrative funding to the states and Indian Tribal Organizations participating in the program.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal nutrition-assistance program. Eligible low-income individuals and families receive benefits through an electronic benefits transfer card, which can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retail food stores, much like a debit card.

To qualify, individuals must reside in the state where they apply and within certain bank-account balance limits. Households with a member who is over 60 or disabled may have extended bank balance limits.

Feeding America

Feeding America has assisted children, families, and seniors in combating food insecurity for more than 40 years. The program uses several services to accomplish its goals. It provides access to mobile and drive-through pantries, as well as its senior food, backpack, and summer meal programs.

Feeding America also assists individuals and families with SNAP applications and provides additional assistance for children through its school pantry program and kids cafe.

Meals on Wheels

For almost half a century, Meals on Wheels has profoundly impacted the lives of millions of elderly people, providing both nutritional sustenance and much-needed companionship. Meals on Wheels is a nourisher for seniors’ physical and emotional well-being and an effective measure in reducing health-care costs.

One out of four elderly individuals lives alone, heightening the likelihood of hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular ailments. To be eligible for Meals on Wheels, applicants must be 60 years old or older, disabled, homebound, or unable to grocery shop or acquire food. They must also be unable to prepare meals for themselves, have no one available to do grocery shopping and meal preparation, and reside within a designated delivery area.

Bottom Line

There is a growing problem of food insecurity, but these programs are at the forefront of battling it. Most seniors have access to one or more of these programs. Contact them today to get the food assistance you need before you’re in a dire situation.

To learn more about affordable ways to obtain nutritious foods, read our helpful guides.