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Hunger in the Senior Community

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As a reasonably typical child boomer who grew up in a secular Jewish dwelling within the Midwest, I discovered about social justice and the necessity to give again at a reasonably younger age. As an adolescent I attended many conferences on civil rights and have become a really ardent supporter of these causes. However one other challenge nagged at me from a younger age. It was starvation. As an idealistic younger individual of the ’60s, I couldn’t reconcile how america alone may feed the world and but starvation pervaded not solely African nations however sectors of American society as nicely.

The results of that early consciousness has guided my tzedekah efforts all through my life.  Possibly that is influenced too as a result of I hate to really feel hungry myself and thus don’t want it on anybody else. I bear in mind the ache I felt after I discovered that my very own cousins usually ended the month wanting cash to purchase meals once they had been in school. In fact that they had an excessive amount of delight to ask my household for assist, however I believed in the event that they had been meals insecure, there have to be much more individuals who face this drawback every day.

I let you know all of this as a result of the pandemic in an fascinating method introduced this drawback entrance and heart to me in my skilled life. A few of chances are you’ll know that I assist run a small nonprofit, the Center for Successful Aging, which serves the wants of seniors in our neighborhood. In mid-March, a neighborhood philanthropist known as me and with nice foresight advised me of his concern that with the stay-at-home orders, low-income seniors would quickly be exhausting hit and that he needed to assist some organizations cope with the pending meals issues going through seniors in our county. I thanked him for his concern however referred him to a bigger group since I knew ours wouldn’t be capable of undertake such a big geographic activity.  

After he approached the Household Service Company, its director known as and requested me if my group would run this system from Santa Barbara to Goleta. I gladly accepted, and for the previous six months we now have provided two applications: one providing groceries for individuals who can put together their very own meals and the opposite for extra debilitated people who can’t put together meals. We obtained a authorities grant to supply the latter group a scorching meal program, and when its funder requested me how many individuals I’d prefer to serve, I mentioned, “Properly, there are most likely 50-60 people who find themselves actually determined, however why don’t we begin with 100.” She secured the federal funding, and we publicized this system to all of the low-income individuals and businesses I knew. To my shock we bought 150 calls inside the first three days. “Wow,” I mentioned to myself, I had no concept that many individuals had been meals insecure.

After elevating some extra funds and screening the entire candidates, we had been capable of supply a five-day-a-week scorching meal program to 125 seniors and serve the others within the grocery program. After performing some extra analysis I’ve discovered that the fact is that in our rich enclave, there’s an underbelly of nice poverty the place over 25 p.c of seniors in our county reside. Too many don’t even have the funds to buy meals, and others are bodily unable to make meals. Ought to seniors who lived and served our neighborhood all through their lives and now reside alone, are blind, endure a lot ache they’ll’t stand or don’t have the cognitive potential to prepare dinner a meal be relegated to consuming one thing out of a can?

The pandemic has introduced dwelling to me the stark actuality that meals insecurity is a large challenge amongst seniors. I’ve joined a gaggle that’s bringing this challenge to authorities, foundations, and different philanthropists for all of us to unravel. It was hidden earlier than the pandemic and is now a significant social challenge that I really feel compelled to answer.

The funding for this program got here from the federal authorities and can finish on December 31. At the moment we’re in search of help from the County of Santa Barbara, the Basis Roundtable, and space philanthropists. We hope you’ll add your backing by making a donation to the Center for Successful Aging.

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