Q: Where can seniors find help getting food?
A: For emergency food assistance, regardless of age, call 211 to find food pantries near you. You will be asked to put in your ZIP code, and then just follow the prompts for food assistance.
Feeding America West Michigan also is a good resource for emergency food, and facilitates the Mobile Food Pantry, which has distribution days throughout the month in various locations around Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties. Here are some upcoming distribution days:
• 4 p.m. Tuesday, ACTION Ministry Center at Dowagiac Fire Department, 103 Park Place
• 4 p.m. Wednesday, New Freedom Church, 6210 Mountain Road, Coloma
• Noon Dec. 2, Trinity Church of God in Christ, 2029 Red Arrow Highway, Benton Harbor
• 3:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Chikaming Township Hall, 13535 Red Arrow Highway, Harbert
• 4 p.m. Dec. 4, Woodland Shores Baptist Church at Bridgman Fire Department, 9765 Maple St.
• 11 a.m. Dec. 5, Hope Reformed Church / Senior Services of Van Buren County, 1365 Monroe Blvd., South Haven
• 1 p.m. Dec. 6, Paw Paw Seventh-day Adventist Church at White Oaks Assisted Living, 310 White Oaks Road, Lawton
For more information, visit www.feedwm.org or call 926-2646.
The Commodity Supplement Food Program (CSFP) and Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) are other options.
CSFP is a food supplement program for those 60 and older whose household income is at or below 130 percent of federal poverty level. CSFP food boxes are distributed monthly from a variety of locations.
Additionally, the TEFAP distributes boxes every 3 months for anyone who is struggling and in need of food.
Contact Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency at 925-9077 for application information and the location of distribution sites.
Finally, the Region IV Area Agency on Aging provides funds to ensure hot noon meals at 12 locations throughout Southwest Michigan, as well as home-delivered meals for those who are house-bound.
Consider going to a local meal site once or twice a week to have lunch, or, if you aren’t able to get out, contact Senior Nutrition Services at 925-0137 about getting home-delivered meals.
Q: I worry that my neighbor isn’t eating well. He’s a widower with no family locally.
I’ve offered to bring him a meal, but he is very proud. Any ideas on how to help him?
A: It is often a challenge to get some older adults to accept help, even when needed. Some specific ideas might be to invite him over for a meal or to go out for one with your family.
Think of something simple you could ask him to do for you, if he is able, such as get your mail or water your outside planters if you are gone a couple days. You can then thank him with a meal or basket of snacks.
Finally, you could do something anonymously like mailing a grocery or restaurant gift card or sending frozen food through a delivery service.
In a broader sense, the ongoing needs of so many can sometimes be overwhelming to all of us. The holidays can really bring this in focus as we are presented with multiple giving opportunities.
At AAA we are fortunate to be supported by many individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the year, and especially at the holidays. Our clients are generously provided holiday boxes containing food and personal care items from several local entities.
As noted in the prior question, the need for food is a real thing for many people who are low-income, disabled or aging. We encourage everyone to give to area food banks, stuff-a-truck events, nonprofit donation buckets, and the like.
If you’d like to help AAA serve individuals throughout the year, consider donating to our agency’s Unmet Needs Fund. Contributions to the fund can be made securely online at AreaAgencyonAging.org/donate or by sending a check to Region IV Area Agency on Aging, 2900 Lakeview Ave., St. Joseph, MI 49085.
Sara Duris is community information liaison of Region IV Area Agency on Aging in Southwest Michigan. Questions on age or independence services? Call the Info-Line for Aging & Disability at 800-654-2810 or visit www.areaagencyonaging.org. The Generations column appears each Saturday in The Herald-Palladium.