The “Food for Seniors” Program
Our senior clients in Oconee County are uniquely struggling and facing especially difficult circumstances, even though they may have worked their entire life. Some had hoped to retire from their job at the textile mill, only to see the mills close and their pensions lost or greatly diminished. Others grew up in a farming community and as they aged saw the farms disappear and had no way to cope with the changed situation. Still others face old age existing only on a social security monthly stipend averaging $850 per month. Many experience a combination of these conditions, and further suffer disability or medical issues. Feeding America estimates that there are about 1600 seniors in Oconee County below the poverty level.
Recognizing these issues the “Food For Seniors” (originally called the ‘Brown Bag’) program was started in 2008 providing a 25 lb box of food the Oconee county residents over 60 years of age. Since many seniors are not very mobile the food is delivered to the car by volunteers. The program started with 48 seniors, but by the end of 2008 there were 359 registered. Today there are 720 senior households (close to 1000 individual seniors) registered. About 500 senior households come each month and the monthly food distribution has grown to include meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables, and bakery products as well as the box of canned goods and staples. In total we provide about 80 lbs of food!
Food For Seniors drive through process
There are about 1200 seniors registered with Golden Corner Food Pantry either with Food for Seniors or as part of a “family household”. The average age of seniors coming to the food pantry is about 74 years.