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(OPINION) Help Food Bank of Wyoming fight food insecurity among older adults

"Everything we do is fueled by the support of our community and donors, and every dollar raised in Wyoming stays in Wyoming," Jessica Stanbury writes.

Portrait of happy senior woman received crate with freshness food at home. (Food Bank of Wyoming)

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Dear Cheyenne,

In 2020, one out of every 15 adults over the age of 60 experienced food insecurity. The root cause of food insecurity among older adults varies case by case; however, one thing that remains the same is Food Bank of Wyoming’s commitment to fill plates with nourishing food for older adults in Wyoming – and you can help.

Food insecurity, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is “a condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” For older adults, food insecurity is caused by a variety of external circumstances, such as lack of transportation, isolation, disability, income, and much more. In fact, older adults with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be food insecure, according to Feeding America.

The results of food insecurity for older adults can have devastating consequences, including malnutrition and poor health outcomes. For example, an older adult may have to choose between purchasing groceries or buying their necessary medication, ultimately resulting in either negative health effects from missing medications or missing meals. Additional factors, such as poorly stocked grocery stores or not having a ride to the grocery store, can create food insecurity among older adults.

Through the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Food Bank of Wyoming delivers food where it is needed most. The goal is to improve the health of people at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diet with the delivery of monthly food boxes containing nutritious options. Some locations in the state only offer the option to pick up food boxes.

Eligible adults, who meet the income criteria, receive a monthly food box consisting of non-perishable protein, milk (powdered or UHT), juice, cereal, canned or dried fruits and vegetables, and refrigerated cheese. In addition to the USDA provided food, eligible adults often receive extra food like fresh produce, dairy, and bread from Food Bank of Wyoming and our partner agencies. Nutrition education and recipes provided by Cent$ible Nutrition Program are also included in the food boxes.

Food Bank of Wyoming wants to make sure no one goes hungry. In partnership with select partner agencies, Food Bank of Wyoming offers several distribution sites throughout Wyoming including Casper, Cheyenne, Wheatland, Thayne and Sheridan. You can help support and feed older adults across Wyoming by giving financially. Additionally, you can find out if someone you know qualifies for the CSFP program at https://wyomingfoodbank.org/find-food/older-adults/ or by contacting Food Bank of Wyoming at helpdesk@wyomingfoodbank.org.

If you are a 60-plus Wyoming resident experiencing food insecurity, Food Bank or Wyoming is here to support and help provide nourishing meals. Apply today for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, also known as the Evergreen Box Program, to receive monthly food boxes at https://wyomingfoodbank.org/find-food/older-adults/.

To learn more about Food Bank of Wyoming or to donate visit wyomingfoodbank.org. Food Bank of Wyoming is the largest hunger-relief organization in Wyoming and provides food and essentials directly to people facing hunger through more than 150 Hunger Relief Partners across the state. We’ve put the power of community to work for our neighbors in need. We serve as the Wyoming distribution center of Food Bank of the Rockies, which is a proud member of the Feeding America network.

Everything we do is fueled by the support of our community and donors, and every dollar raised in Wyoming stays in Wyoming.

Rachel Bailey

Food Bank of Wyoming