May 15, 2014

Hunger Among Seniors on the Rise

Washington, D.C. – A Bread for the World analysis released today indicates that hunger among senior Americans is on the rise. However, federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) have helped slow the increase in hunger among this age group.                                                  

“Our grandparents who worked hard all their lives now have to choose between eating or purchasing their medication,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “This is a choice no one, especially the elderly, should have to make in a country as rich as ours.”

Seniors - adults age 65 and older - make up 12.9 percent of the U.S. population. The analysis, “Keeping the Dream Alive: Hunger by the Numbers Among Older Americans,” indicates that 3.9 million seniors live below the poverty line.

The amount of seniors experiencing hunger increased by 88 percent between 2001 and 2011. Programs like SNAP and Meals on Wheels have helped curb this rise. However, if trends continue, the hungry elderly will increase by 50 percent.

Unfortunately, cuts to safety net programs like SNAP as well as the stigma attached to these programs have prevented some seniors from receiving the support they need.

“We must protect these vital programs and erase the stigma that prevents many seniors from applying for these programs,” said Beckmann. “These programs are a ‘hand-up,’ not a handout.” Bread’s analysis, “Keeping the Dream Alive: Hunger by the Numbers Among Older Americans” coincides with the observance of Older Americans Month in the United States. 

Tools
from our Resource Library

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  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

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  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

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For Advocacy

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

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