Food bank to expand program that helps hungry older people

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 18, 2016 3:46 AM

(Harrisburg) -- More older people in the midstate will get healthy food, thanks to the expansion of a popular program.

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank hopes to trim the waiting list for Elder Share, a program offers a box of healthy food to low-income older people once a month.

It includes things like cans of vegetables and fruit, juice, cereal and lowfat milk.

Joe Arthur with the Food Bank says it has a long waiting list for Elder Share, and a $30,000 dollar donation from Highmark will help serve about one thousand people.

"Demand with some seniors is pretty high. We serve them in different ways. This adds to our normal pantry programs and other ways that we serve all people," he says.

He says hunger among older people is an issue nationwide.

"Pennsylvania, given its relatively larger portion of its population being seniors, the problem is more severe I would say in Pennsylvania than even other states," Arthur adds.

To participate in the Elder Share program, an older person's income must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line.

That's the equivalent of about $16,000 for a single person, or $21,000 for a couple.

About 33 million meals are delivered to food pantries and soup kitchens in 27 central Pennsylvania counties every year by the food bank.

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