Food Bank Pilots Senior Box Program to Fill Senior Neighbors’ Shelves

senior woman with box of food

Seniors who are food insecure — which means they can’t access or afford enough healthy food — are at a greater risk for the detrimental health effects hunger can cause. In fact, families served by the Feeding America network that include a member over 50 are far more likely to also include someone with high blood pressure and diabetes — conditions that can be mitigated by healthy food.

senior woman with box of food

That’s why we’re piloting a Senior Box program in Kent and Ottawa counties starting this winter. The program will target specific senior populations in these counties, and provide them with bimonthly boxes filled with low-sugar and low-sodium groceries such as grains and canned vegetables, fruits and meats. The boxes will also include recipes and info about other resources for at-risk seniors.

“The goal is to include items that are simple to cook and can be used in multiple different recipes to cater to seniors’ needs,” said Abby, our programs specialist. “We want these boxes to be both practical and tasty.”

Food for the boxes will be sourced by the food bank and packed by staff and volunteers. These boxes — around 200 per month to start — will then be delivered to designated agency partners who run senior-focused programs in Kent and Ottawa counties, where volunteers will ensure seniors in need receive them.

For older Michiganders at greater risk of disease, consistent access to nutrient-dense food is vital — ultimately helping them avoid costly hospitalizations and nursing home placements.