According to a 2016 survey by Feeding America, nearly 81,000 older Iowans (age 60 and over) are estimated to be “food insecure,” that is, they do not have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is a co-sponsor of the Growing Bolder Hunger Summit, scheduled for May 9, 2017, at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, where this issue will be examined.
“This is an issue that may be hiding in plain sight,” said IDPH Director Gerd W. Clabaugh. “Seniors are often too embarrassed to ask for help and many of us underestimate the daily struggles of older Iowans because they receive Social Security or Medicare.” For many older Iowans, the average monthly Social Security benefit of around $1,200 is their entire monthly budget; adequate groceries may be sacrificed for other living expenses. This is especially true in households in which grandparents live with grandchildren, further stretching limited food budgets.
The summit co-sponsors are AARP and Growing Bolder, a coalition of Iowa stakeholders working to support community-based efforts to provide seniors with nutritious food. Growing Bolder strives to enhance awareness of senior hunger among Iowans and coordinate state and community partners to reduce senior hunger.
Registration and more information about the summit may be found at https://www.trainingresources.org/events.aspx.