By Arturo Vargas, Moveable Market Coordinator
In America today, over 3.6 million Americans age 65 and older are living in poverty and lack the basic needs of food, shelter, transportation, and access to health care. Locally, despite Yolo County being at the heart of one of the world's richest agricultural regions, the number of people who suffer from hunger is rapidly increasing, and seniors are no exception. After a lifetime of hard work and manual labor, many seniors are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between paying for basic necessities and buying groceries. Because they often need medication to maintain their health, many elderly Americans forgo the foods they need to stay healthy. Limited mobility and dependence on outside assistance makes seniors particularly vulnerable to hunger. This experience of hunger can have devastating effects on health and well being. Hunger increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, chronic health conditions, and mental health issues resulting in increased incidences of depression and isolation among seniors. Food insecurity among this vulnerable population is especially troublesome because they have unique nutritional needs and may require special diets for medical conditions.
The Food Bank of Yolo County has been serving the community as a whole and seniors specifically for 40 years now. With widespread community support we are working with our partners to ensure that seniors in need are provided with nutritious food. Our network of member agencies includes Elderly Nutrition, the local Meals on Wheels affiliate, which delivers nutritious meals and a smile to home bound seniors across the county.
The Food Bank's own Moveable Market program visits sites across the county bringing fresh produce and nutrition education to those with limited access to the healthy food they need. As the Moveable Market Coordinator, I enjoy reaching out to community members to encourage healthy eating. When I arrive at the Moveable Market sites, there are often groups of seniors waiting to greet me, looking forward to seeing what produce I've brought and discussing what favorite recipes they can make. They seem to appreciate my visits and comment on how helpful the product is in stretching their budget. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I am helping seniors on a fixed income make ends meet in these difficult economic times, serving a critical need of my community and making a difference in their lives.
Courtesy of The Davis Enterprise
Original publish date: May 23, 2010