Brothers and sisters, this month we celebrate our seniors. We should take the time, not just this month, but every day, to remember the great strides and accomplishments the generations before us have made and continue to make. It is easy to forget the labors of the past, but as the great book of Psalms reminds us, a gray head is a crown of glory.
Baby boomers continue to make their way to retirement after decades of hard work and fruitful contributions to society. Sadly, hunger greets millions of seniors as they enter their golden years.
We at Bread for the World have released a FACT SHEET that shows the growing reality of hunger among older Americans. It is with a heavy heart to have to report that hunger has been increasing the past few years. From 2001 to 2011, the number of seniors experiencing hunger increased by an astonishing 88 percent.
What does it say about our country’s values when 8.8 million seniors suffer from food insecurity? How can we allow our seniors to suffer from poverty and hunger after they have contributed to our economy for decades? What message do we send our younger generations when we allow the bad decisions of a few to eradicate a lifetime of hard work?
There are programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and Meals on Wheels, that can help seniors, but sometimes they are not aware of them, or stigma prevents them from applying. We must remember that these programs are not handouts but supports fortimes when economic uncertainty endures.
As the book of Timothy tells us, we must not rebuke our elderly but treat them like we would treat our parents. Would we allow our parents to suffer
hunger? Despite our struggling economy, we remain one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and it is our duty to ensure those most vulnerable in society are taken care of with the same care we would show our own family.
A way to honor our older Americans this month is to ensure that they have enough to eat. Help at local churches and food pantries, ensure that those who need assistance are receiving it, and let Congress know that we value our seniors. The decades of hard work and contributions to this country that older Americans have provided should ensure that at the very least they are able to put a plate of food on their table.
2014 © Dulce Gamboa. All Rights Reserved.