Hunger among Americans 60 and older is a growing crisis. One in seven seniors lives in poverty, and 4.9
million seniors struggle with hunger. SNAP is a lifeline for seniors, but many older Americans are not
receiving this vital assistance. Three out of five seniors who are eligible for SNAP do not participate, meaning millions of seniors are missing out on vital support due to shame, stigma, and difficulty accessing services.
With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, the population of seniors is set to double by 2060. Meanwhile, hunger rates have more than doubled for low-income seniors in the U.S. in recent years, with hundreds of thousands of older Americans aging into poverty every year.
MAZON has prioritized addressing senior hunger. Seniors face unique challenges in keeping nutritious food on the table. MAZON identifies those barriers and works to remove them, with a focus on seniors whose struggle with hunger too often goes ignored, including senior veterans, seniors on tribal lands, and LGBT seniors.
No way did I ever think I’d be in this position. I did everything right in my life. If sickness comes along, it can drain all your money in one day. That’s what happened to me.
- Barbara, New York City
MAZON believes the growing hunger crisis among seniors is too urgent to ignore. A strong advocacy strategy will help seniors access benefits and receive the support they desperately need.
This year, Congress turns to renewing the Older Americans Act, which provides an opportunity to strengthen services for seniors who struggle with hunger. Over 40% of OAA funding goes directly towards senior nutrition, with 146 million home-delivered and 79 million congregate meals served each year to 2.4 million seniors.
However, 4.9. million seniors still wonder where their next meal will come from, and that number will only increase unless we take action now. Click here to sign our petition.
We’re Still Hungry: Lived Experiences with Food Insecurity and Food Programs Among LGBTQ People:
We commissioned a robust qualitative study from the renowned Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law—one of the nation’s most prominent LGBT policy think tanks—to explore how LGBT seniors uniquely experience food insecurity. The findings reveal persistent challenges and barriers to accessing the charitable food assistance network for LGBTQ individuals, illuminating the experiences of various demographics and in both urban and rural settings. The report, “We’re Still Hungry: Lived Experiences with Food Insecurity and Food Programs Among LGBTQ People,” was release June 30, 2020.
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger was the motivating force behind this qualitative research about food insecurity among LGBTQ older adults, which is part of the Institute’s larger Pathways to Justice Project about poverty and economic insecurity among LGBTQ people.
Shedding Light on LGBT Senior Hunger: MAZON has identified the unique challenges these particularly vulnerable seniors face, and leads in advocating for their needs – in the communities in which these seniors live and in the halls of national power in D.C.
MAZON convened leaders from anti-hunger, LGBT, aging and economic justice organizations for the first-ever LGBT Senior Hunger Summit in Washington, D.C. In partnership with SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders, we brought together nearly 50 key stakeholders to share insights, exchange ideas and strategies, and develop policy solutions to tackle this issue.
Solutions to Senior Hunger™: In response to the escalating number of seniors struggling to put food on the table, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger launched Solutions to Senior Hunger™ to help low-income, food-insecure seniors get the nutrition assistance they need. In partnership with the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, MAZON worked with 26 Jewish Family Service agencies in 17 states throughout the U.S. to engage nearly 70,000 vulnerable seniors by conducting SNAP outreach, education and application assistance, and connecting thousands of seniors to life-saving nutrition support.
Advocating for Greater SNAP Participation Through the Elderly Simplified Application Process (ESAP): Sixty percent of struggling seniors eligible for SNAP do not apply for or participate in the program, missing out on vital assistance that could help them keep nutritious food on their tables. MAZON has successfully advocated for and passed the Elderly Simplified Application Process (ESAP) in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, allowing for a simplified SNAP application and recertification process for tens of thousands of SNAP-eligible seniors throughout those three states.