WASHINGTON, March 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- March is National Nutrition Month and BenefitsCheckUp® encourages all Americans to take this time to make informed food choices, develop sound eating habits and recognize that hunger remains a serious issue for many older adults.
According to research sponsored by the Meals on Wheels Association of America, approximately six million seniors have faced the threat of hunger and 11.4% of all seniors have experienced a form of food insecurity.
With the help of BenefitsCheckUp®, a free and confidential online service that enables seniors and their family members or caregivers to determine what benefits they qualify for and how to apply for them, older Americans can find out if they qualify for nutrition assistance programs to help put food on the table.
BenefitsCheckUp® highlights several programs which help people with limited incomes to buy the food they need for good health:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps) helps low-income individuals and families by providing them with a special debit card for food that can be used at most grocery stores, certain senior centers, and non-profit meal delivery services (such as Meals on Wheels).
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) helps to improve the health of eligible individuals by supplementing their diets with nutritious foods. Participants receive a monthly food package.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. This program is offered at local food pantries and soup kitchens.
- Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for select foods at farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.
- Home Delivered Meals and Congregate Meals provide meals and other nutrition services to older individuals in a variety of settings including congregate facilities such as senior centers or by home-delivery for the homebound.
"It is our belief that no older American should go hungry," said Stuart Spector, the National Council on Aging's senior vice president. "It is fortunate that there are a variety of programs that can assist many older Americans to get the food they need to maintain their health and quality of life."
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org.
Developed and maintained by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes almost 2,000 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2001, more than 2.7 million people have used the service, identifying benefits valued at more than $9.5 billion. For more information, visit www.benefitscheckup.org.
SOURCE National Council on Aging