WASHINGTON, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In honor of National Nutrition Month this March, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is encouraging all Americans to use its free, online BenefitsCheckUp® service to help the older adults in their lives find help to pay for nutritious food.
Approximately six million seniors face the threat of hunger each day, and 11.4% of all seniors have experienced a form of food insecurity over the last year, according to the Meals on Wheels Association.
With the help of BenefitsCheckUp®, older Americans can find out if they qualify for nutrition assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly Food Stamps), to help put food on the table.
BenefitsCheckUp® is a free and confidential online service that enables seniors, family members, or caregivers to determine what benefits they qualify for and how to apply.
From March 5-9, NCOA also will sponsor the first-ever SNAP Challenge by a national organization serving older adults. Participants will replicate the experience of living on a SNAP budget—choosing recipes, shopping for groceries, and cooking healthy meals—at approximately $4.00 per day. For more information on NCOA's SNAP Challenge, click here.
In addition to SNAP, BenefitsCheckUp® can help seniors and their families find assistance with other food-related programs as well, such as:
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which helps improve older adults' diets with nutritious foods. Participants receive a monthly food package.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost and is usually offered at local food pantries and soup kitchens.
Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, which 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, which provide meals and other nutrition services to older individuals in a variety of settings such as senior centers or by home delivery for the homebound.
"No older American should go hungry, period," said Stuart Spector, senior vice president at NCOA. "Thankfully, there are a variety of programs that can assist seniors to get the food they need to maintain their health and quality of life. Visit BenefitsCheckUp® today and find out how you can help yourself or your loved ones."
About NCOA The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—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 | www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging
About BenefitsCheckUp® 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.