Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Senior CARE-a-Van rolled out Thursday, carrying 3,000 boxes of food for seniors in need across Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties.
The CARE-a-Van departed with an escort by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office to raise awareness of the growing issue of senior hunger and to deliver direct relief – nutritious food tailored to a healthy diet for seniors.
“Across the country ten percent of our seniors over 60 are food-insecure,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “In our community, we have about 25,000 seniors who struggle, and the pandemic has amplified that situation. We’re delivering boxes to 32 sites today, and hopefully, they will provide some feeling of security for the seniors during the holidays.”
This is the 6th time for the event that delivers food boxes to low-income seniors during the time of year when it is most needed. It is one of several programs focused on seniors, along with monthly food box deliveries, curbside pick-up, and home delivery, which was begun with the onset of the pandemic to help seniors with no other way to access food.
“These are angels. You have no idea,” said Joyce Riskovitch, who spoke Thursday about receiving help from Treasure Coast Food Bank. “For almost three years I’ve been taking care of my parents. I’ve never asked for help from anybody,” said the 60-year-old Riskovitch. When other members of the family lost their jobs as the pandemic worsened, she made a call to Treasure Coast Food Bank. She picks up food from the Curbside Delivery program about once every six weeks. “I don’t know how to say ‘thank you’ enough,” she said.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic seniors were the fastest-growing group of food-insecure people on the Treasure Coast, and Florida’s seniors had a higher rate of food insecurity than the national average. One in 12 seniors across the state is food-insecure, including the 25,000 on the Treasure Coast.
In addition to seniors taking care of older parents, other seniors are raising grandchildren, and many who are food-insecure suffer with poor health, including diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Each box contains food that seniors can prepare easily for themselves and that contribute to a healthy diet for seniors. Those foods include beans, pasta, canned vegetables, canned fruit, apple juice, peanut butter, and low-sugar snacks. The boxes also contain some nutrition education and recipes.
ABOUT TREASURE COAST FOOD BANK
Treasure Coast Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization on Florida’s Treasure Coast, providing the community each year with millions of meals valued at more than $50 million through robust programs and in partnership with 400 charitable organizations in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties. In addition to emergency food distribution, Treasure Coast Food Bank operates a full roster of direct service programs that not only solve the immediate problem of hunger, but help individuals and families gain long-term food security, better health outcomes, and self-sufficiency. Treasure Coast Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. For more information on Treasure Coast Food Bank, call 772.489.3034, log on to stophunger.org, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/tcfoodbank, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/tcfoodbank.Link to video clips: