“We grow up being very prideful,” said Esther, a retired nurse. “But you get to a point when things happen like they’ve happened in our lives, that you need a helping hand.” She and her husband Del, a veteran, found the help they need at Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry. The co-op, a partner agency of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, receives food from the Food Bank to provide nutritious groceries for hundreds of families, individuals and seniors.
The couple has only $90-100 left after paying bills each month, so they are grateful for everything the co-op provides. “We’re able to make economical, great tasting foods – and I make enough to freeze whenever I can,” said Esther.
At times, they have opted not to go to the doctor when they needed to because they didn’t have money for the copay. And Esther has had to choose between food and medicine. “I’m diabetic,” said Esther. “Five months, I’ve been out of insulin. I didn’t have money. If it weren’t for the co-op, we wouldn’t be having the food to eat either.” For now, she has insulin again but she can’t be certain how long.
73 percent of Food Bank client households have reported making similar choices. It’s especially challenging for seniors living on fixed incomes. The Food Bank has been taking bold steps to combat senior hunger through a variety of outreach efforts. In partnership with the Department of Human Services, the Food Bank distributed monthly food boxes to 3,194 seniors last year, and 2,200 received free vitamins. This year, we plan to launch a Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program in collaboration with the Department of Aging and the Atlanta Regional Commission.