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Food Insecurity Among Seniors Still High Nearly a Decade After Recession

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Berea, KY (LEX 18)- – The Kentucky Association of Food Banks announced the release of The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2015, a study about food insecurity among seniors in the U.S. produced by Feeding America and released in partnership with the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH).

The report shows that nationally, 5.4 million seniors age 60 or older (8.1 percent) were food insecure in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. In Kentucky, 9.8 percent of seniors were food insecure. Food insecurity refers to the lack of access to enough nutritious food. Nationally, the 8.1 percent of seniors who are food insecure does represent a slight decrease over the prior year, and the first decline since 2009.

Despite relative improvement, the rate and number of seniors affected remains well above pre-recession levels. In 2007 when the recession was just beginning, 6.3 percent and 3.2 million seniors were food insecure – 2.2 million fewer than the most recently reported total of food insecure seniors. These findings are further evidence that the benefits of the improved economy are not being enjoyed by all.

“One senior citizen in Kentucky struggling with hunger is too many, let alone nearly 1 in 10,” said Tamara Sandberg, Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. “All of us – including the charitable sector, government leaders, and the business community -- have a role to play in ending senior hunger in Kentucky.”

The Kentucky Association of Food Banks is comprised of seven of the 200 food banks in the Feeding America network that collectively provides food assistance to 46 million Americans struggling with hunger. The members of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks distributed the equivalent of 58 million meals last year and feed an average of 50,000 Kentuckians each week.

Twenty percent of individuals served by a food bank in Kentucky are aged 60 or older.

“The number of seniors facing hunger in this country remains unacceptably high. After lifetimes of hard work many of America’s seniors are put in the terrible position of having to choose between groceries and medical care,” said Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv. “These are parents, grandparents and cherished friends and we must ensure they have the nutritious food they need. Feeding America is working to prevent their hunger every day.”

 An executive summary of the report is available here.

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