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More Seniors Use Food Banks During Down Economy

Karen Kasler

Food pantries around the state say they’re seeing unprecedented numbers of senior citizens needing help. Activists from across the state met for a summit on dealing with hunger among seniors today. Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks says many seniors aren’t able to take care of their nutrition needs, which she says will cost Medicare and other programs in the long run.

Hunger is preventable and it's time that we get our priorities straight," says Hamler-Fugitt. "When the greatest generation, those who have built the country that we live in, now have to beg for food, there is something wrong."

The number of senior citizens reaching out to food pantries for help has grown by nearly 62 percent over the last year. Hamler-Fugitt says food bank warehouses are half empty now, so they’re being forced to ration food to keep up with the growing numbers of seniors and the other populations they’ve been serving. Hamler-Fugitt says she’s hoping members of Congress will fully fund food programs that are already in place, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp program.