The myth that older adults are wealthy and spend their money on cruises and vacations at campuses for life-long learning is not what it appears. An increasing number of Sacramento senior adults are lining up for hours waiting for local food banks to open. One example is in the Elk Grove neighborhoods. According to a September 13, 2010 Sacramento Bee article, “Elk Grove Food Bank serves ‘new homeless’.”
How does Sacramento, and Elk Grove, in particular deal with hunger and homelessness that’s contributing to health issues in this area? If you visit the Elk Grove Food Bank, you’ll see the new homeless lined up along with an increasing number of senior citizens. The line of families asking for donated food and clothing also is growing longer as is the wait. These are signs of the “newly homeless.” They consist of families, senior citizens, and children rather than mostly chronically homeless people.
In Sacramento, it’s also the working poor that’s increasing in number as the newly homeless or others who may consider food as a luxury item. In 2009, the food bank served an average of about 2,300 people a month. This year, it is supplying food boxes to 2,900, according to the Sacramento Bee article.
The number of homeless clients seeking food at the closet nearly doubled in two months, from 62 in June to 120 in August. Some people live in their cars or vans. Others camp outdoors near the creek in Elk Grove. Just a year or two ago, Elk Grove was considered a boom area with increasing numbers of home owners moving in.
Because of home foreclosures or increases in mortgages and the phenomenon of more homeless in Elk Grove as more senior citizens lose home delivery of food, the numbers of the newly homeless are increasing. Sadly, not only senior citizens are more frequently homeless, priced out of apartment rentals or losing their homes because they have no money to pay the mortgages or the taxes, but families with infants and children are also part of the increasing number of newly homeless.
If you check out the Sacramento Bee article, you’ll see a section where it mentions that some men are showing up in horse stables asking for work and sleeping room in the horse stalls. Where can you go for further information? Try the People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) website and the Sacramento Self-Help Housing Association (especially if you’re searching for lower-rent housing).
If you’re hungry, homeless, or can’t afford food to feed yourself or your family, and you’re staying or living in Elk Grove, you might look at the Elk Grove food Bank Services pantry.
the Elk Grove Food Bank opened in 1974 in a local church. Today it occupies a 6,,300-square-foot warehouse and office space on Dino Drive. According to the Sacramento Bee article, 42 percent of the clients served are under age18, but a growing number of senior citizens are showing up on many early mornings waiting for the doors to open. Some businesses also are donating less to various food banks this year because business is less profitable or owners had to close their stores. Donations across the board are down. That’s where volunteers and community gardens have to pitch in and donate produce.
The food bank runs a mobile pantry once a month, delivering food and clothing from a truck to 225 migrant workers in Franklin. Also, under the Wellness Bank, food is delivered to home-bound clients, some of whom are elderly. But volunteer drivers also deliver food to 52 medically fragile homebound clients, a third of those AIDS/HIV patients. There’s also the Senior Brown Bag program that offers low-income seniors nutritional supplements in addition to their monthly box.
Food for People has been a proud sponsor of the Senior Brown Bag Program for twenty two years, according to its website. The complete elimination of the Senior Brown Bag Program could have a serious impact on Humboldt County’s seniors.
During that time, the organization has provided a bag of groceries for an average of 450-600 seniors countywide each month. Almost half of the bags are delivered by volunteers who provide important social contact for the seniors. They also let the organization know whether they have concerns about a particular senior’s well being.
Elimination of this program, in addition to the severe cuts in SSI and other senior services that have been triggered by the California state’s budget crisis, will further undermine the ability of its seniors to maintain their health and ultimately their independence. That’s why the organization needs your help. Please follow the links below to share your concerns with the Governor and Legislators. Be sure to contact the organization if you have any questions.
Food for the various programs in Elk Grove is supplied through U.S. Department of Agriculture grants, from various supermarket’s donation canisters, food drives, and private donations of cash and food from individuals and businesses.
Download, fill out and fax this flyer to all the Assembly members and Senators in your service area, as well as the Assembly and Senate leadership. Fax numbers for all legislators and the leadership are listed on the second page of the flyer.
Spread the word. Email the flyer to your coworkers, member agencies and partner agencies and hand it out at distributions, meetings and any other place where there are people who will want to take action.
Update and Fax this sample letter at the “update and fax” link on this page from your organization to legislative leaders asking them to restore the Brown Bag Program.
Gardeners donate up to 600 pounds of produce a week
The pantry in Elk Grove also gets extra backyard produce dropped off by gardeners, up to 600 pounds a week during the summer, according to the Sacramento Bee article. Community Garden, Elk Grove, is run by volunteers in Elk Grove and gives the food bank about 500 pounds a week of fresh produce. Food Bank in Elk Grove is not affiliated with other similar food pantries in Sacramento.
Would you like to work a plot of land in the Elk Grove Community Garden? If so, click on this link for the application. It’s a PDF file you can print and fill out.