Data shows 1 in 6 seniors going hungry - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Data shows 1 in 6 seniors going hungry

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Times are tough; we don't have to tell you that. Now, there are some shocking new numbers about American seniors going hungry. According to recent research, one in every six cannot reliably buy or access food.

According to an analysis from researchers at the University of Kentucky and the University of Illinois, that comes down to 9.6 million Americans going hungry. The Heartland is no exception. However some local programs are working to curb this trend.

Every weekday, more than 150 meals are cooked, packed, and delivered. It's all a part of the meal program through the Cape Girardeau Senior Center.

"Some of them are really not capable of fixing food themselves hardly, you know, they're on a walker,” volunteer Virginia Ford said.

Ford says without their delivery, many local seniors would go hungry, not only because they can't afford it but because they can't access food and the same goes for the in-house meal.

Senior Center Administrator Susan McClanahan says she wasn't surprised to hear the number of seniors going without food nationwide.

"They're having to choose what they're going to pay for and food, often times, gets bumped to the bottom,” McClanahan said.

She says the rising cost of health insurance and medicine only makes it tougher, especially for seniors living in rural areas.

"For those who live in smaller communities, that don't have a senior center, those are the ones that aren't really being served,” McClanahan said.

For many who can afford food, McClanahan says it is often not healthy.

"Healthy and nutritious food is expensive. Fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein,” McClanahan said.

However, at the senior center, it's not only about meeting those basic needs, but also providing something money can't buy.

"I kind of like these old people here, too,” laughs one senior.

While Heartland News doesn't have access to the exact number of seniors who can't afford food in the Heartland, McClanahan says with their program, no one is turned away.

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