Addressing senior hunger through Food Access
The information here provides background information, key resources and ways to address the needs of today’s seniors. You will gain knowledge about today’s seniors, how you can help and where to refer seniors for resources and services in their communities. Let us address the opportunities to leverage the unique experience of seniors in Georgia and to identify the risk factors for senior hunger.
Key statistics on the health impact of senior hunger in Georgia
Your first stop in understanding the health impact of senior hunger in Georgia is looking at the statistics we shared in Key Statistics of Senior Hunger. There you had the opportunity to see some key state level demographics of older Georgians. Here are a few more that you should know:
- 214,885 seniors, 60 and over, received SNAP benefits in SFY 2020. (7)
- 211 senior centers in Georgia receive Older Americans Act funding. (8)
- 5,214,276 meals were served to Georgia’s seniors and disabled adults in SFY 2021. (9)
- Georgia ranks 9th in states with low access tracts to key food resources. (10)
- 21.4% of seniors eat fast food on any given day. (11)
Strategies to address the needs of Food Access in Georgia
Perhaps the solution to improving food access for seniors in Georgia lies in understanding the barriers to accessing food. Some barriers to accessing food are:
- Costs of food
- Dietary restrictions due to chronic conditions
- Lack of awareness of programs and resources
- Food deserts and lack of affordable groceries
- Lack of transportation
- Sharing limited resources with extended family such as the case for grandparents providing for grandchildren
Services and resources available in Georgia to improve Food Access
- Resources listed on the Federal and State Programs Addressing Senior Hunger page
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Community and home-delivered meals
- Senior food boxes
- Food banks
- Farmers Markets
- The Georgia Department of Agriculture offers a list of community farmers markets located throughout Georgia (located under Divisions → Marketing Division → Community Farmers Market).
Get involved to help address the needs of today’s seniors
- Volunteer with an Aging Services meal provider: Sort and package food, assist with a mobile pantry and/or deliver meals.
- Deliver meals: Serve seniors who do not have transportation access or are classified at the hunger level.
- Provide help in applying for and utilizing food assistance: Organizations have an opportunity to volunteer as Community Partners. Registered Georgia Gateway Community Partners are shown on the Georgia Gateway Homepage as a resource for individuals needing help with using the online system. Registered Georgia Gateway Community Partners are listed by county of residence and agree to help with using the online system to anyone who requests assistance. Registered Georgia Gateway Community Partners must assist with the transaction submission for all programs (SNAP, Medicaid, TANF and Child Care). There is no compensation for registration as a Georgia Gateway Community Partner. Registration as a Georgia Gateway Community Partner allows individuals, in this time of limited resources and increasing demand of DHS services, to benefit through a choice of access points in the community, therefore increasing participation and accessibility to benefits. For more information about becoming a community partner, click here.
7. DHS' Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. (August 2021).
8. DHS' Georgia Division of Aging Services. (May 2022).
9. Georgia Department of Human Services. (2022). Annual Report. Available from Department of Human Services: Annual Report SFY21 | Georgia Department of Human Services.
10. Alana Rhone, Michele Ver Ploeg, Ryan Williams, and Vince Breneman.
(May 2019). Understanding Low-Income and Low-Access Census Tracts Across the
Nation: Subnational and Subpopulation Estimates of Access to Healthy
Food, EIB-209, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Low access (LA) tracts refer to census tracts where at least 500 people live more than one mile (urban areas) or more than 10 miles (rural areas) from the nearest supermarket, supercenter or large grocery store.
11. Fryar CD, Hughes JP, Herrick KA, Ahluwalia, N. Fast food consumption among adults in the United States, 2013–2016. NCHS Data Brief, no 322. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018. Available from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db322.htm