Gourmet food trucks are all the rage among self proclaimed “foodies” and have become trendy gathering places for discerning diners. The concept of a mobile kitchen has also caught on in the San Diego area, providing older Californians at risk for food insecurity with regular access to healthy, fresh foods within their community. A food truck was bought by local nonprofits and has secured funding for the next three years. Seniors can pay $2 for lunch or eat free of charge if they have a CalFresh card.
In addition to a nutritious meal, older adults benefit from the social interaction the program offers, sometime hosting speakers, classes or music for the gathered group. Local area farmers also donate produce for seniors to take home with them.
According to a 2015 study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, nearly one of five seniors in California cannot afford basic needs including food, housing, transportation and health care yet do not qualify for public assistance. Nationally, the number of food insecure seniors is expected to double by 2025 when the youngest of the baby boomers reach the age of 60.
Poor access to nutritious food not only increases the risk of chronic health conditions, seniors who experience food insecurity also are more likely to experience depressions, are 53 per cent more likely to report a heart attack and have increased risk for asthma and congestive heart failure.
Bringing nutritious meals to community centers, senior residences or churches can help give the vulnerable elderly a sense of dignity while encouraging them to leave their homes and participate in their community.
To learn more about seniors who face hunger in the United States, visit the Feeding America website at: http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/senior-hunger/senior-hunger-fact-sheet.html .