Alrighty. You read the first post about the general needs of the food bank in Larimer County, right? And the second post about the child nutrition programs? Great. Now we’re going to talk about the growing number of seniors needing assistance from the Food Bank for Larimer County.
As I’ve mentioned in the other posts, 14% of Larimer County residents live at or below the Federal Poverty guideline leaving 42,880 people in our community food insecure.
The Food Bank for Larimer County has experienced a 50% increase in visits to their Food Share pantries since the Great Recession started in 2008. Over the last 8 months, in particular, they’ve seen record numbers of households visiting our Food Share Program where they are providing food for up to 2,000 individuals per day. The need in Larimer County is being driven by wages that have not kept up with the increasing cost of living. Monthly rents in the Fort Collins/Loveland area increased 41% between 2011 and 2016 to an average $1,273 per month. For families with children, local childcare costs are among the highest in Colorado, which ranks 7th in the United States for most expensive infant care. Additionally, more than 1 in 10 jobs pay less than $11.30 per hour.
The Food Bank for Larimer County isn’t a service for our homeless community, they are serving a large number of friends, family, and neighbors who are working and still need assistance to feed themselves and their children.
In those numbers of people they serve, 8.4% of seniors in Larimer County are food insecure.
Every year, the number of older Americans that suffer from food insecurity grows. They may experience hunger, are near hunger, or are undernourished because they lack access to wholesome foods.
The impact of food insecurity on seniors is far-reaching. Thousands of seniors in our community live on fixed incomes in the midst of the growing cost of living and face tough choices when it comes to making ends meet. Often, seniors have to make the tough choice between medical care/medication and having enough to eat. When seniors cut back on meals or select cheaper, less nutrient-rich foods, it is more difficult to manage illness and maintain health.
A 2014 study published by Feeding America found that seniors who lack adequate nutrition are:
60% more likely to experience depression
53% more likely to report a heart attack
52% more likely to develop asthma
40% are more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure.
Over the last 5 years, the Food Bank has seen consistent growth of nearly 25% in the number of seniors served through the Food Share program. As more baby boomers retire, the Food Bank expects the trend to continue.
The Food Bank for Larimer County partnered with Volunteers of America (VOA) to offer a congregate senior meal program in September 2016. They provide made-from-scratch meals to nine sites for seniors age 60+. Through their Food Share program, they distribute food provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). As an additional service, they deliver CSFP commodity boxes and fresh fruits to homebound seniors in low-income housing developments.
Over the next 12 months, the Food Bank anticipates preparing 500 meals per week. Based on population projections and increased participation, by 2020 the Food Bank intends to grow this program by 20%. The twenty-year program goal is to serve over 800 meals per week to meet the increasing needs of seniors.
While these numbers and realities in our community are daunting, the Food Bank does an excellent job of providing ways to help volunteer, donate, and support their efforts. This is precisely why you should buy tickets to the Front Range Rally. Not only is it a fun way to spend your time drinking unlimited beer and spirits, while eating from various food trucks, 100% of the proceeds goes to the food bank. Thanks to their sponsors, every ticket sold (GA) provides $200 worth of food to a neighbor needing assistance.
This year we’re doing something different on Feasting Fort Collins. As one of their media sponsors helping them to sell more tickets, readers will have an exclusive promo code. This is intended to not only get you there for the fun, but to get YOUR help in bringing your friends and family to the event too!
When you go to purchase your tickets, use the code : FEASTINGFOCO
It will unlock a 4 pack of GA tickets for $120, which is usually priced at $160.
I have six General Admission tickets to giveaway too! Get your entries through this giveaway widget by following me on Experience Fort Collins and Choose Your Own Fort Collins on facebook and Twitter! The winners will be chosen on Thursday night and I will be dropping the tickets off to the winners on Friday.
The more people that go to this event, the more people the food bank will be able to help seniors in our community. It really is a great way to offer support.
Where: Loveland Food Share, 2600 N. Lincoln, Loveland, CO
When: 2:30 – 7 PM on Saturday, May 20th, 2017
Tickets: FrontRangeRally.org. Ticket includes admission to festival grounds, food trucks, live music, and UNLIMITED beer sampling. (Food is sold separately.)