Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is proud to offer the “Senior Food Box Program” though our Food Pantry. We started registering our Pantry guests who financially qualified at the August 11th Food Pantry distribution. This went well last week, and we will register again on August 18th. Registrations will be ongoing for those that qualify. More on qualifications further down in the article. The Senior Box food is in addition to the Pantry food provided by WCHI.
This paragraph is on how the Senior Boxes become available. The Senior Food Box Program is supported through USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The USDA purchases the food and makes it available to the Department of Agriculture. The program is administered on behalf of the Department of Agriculture by Hunger-Free Pennsylvania (HFP) through their network of 17 food banks, including Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) serving all 67 counties. Hunger-Free Pennsylvania is the single largest provider of meals to older Pennsylvanians through the PA Senior Food Box Program. SHFB offered this program to WCHI.
HFP mentions that Food insecurity among seniors contributes to malnutrition, which exacerbates disease, increases disability, decreases resistance to infection and extends hospital stays. Malnutrition increases care-giving demands and inflates health-care expenditures associated with premature or extended hospital or nursing home stays.
The Senior Food Box Program works to improve the health of low-income seniors by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. The senior food boxes do not provide a complete diet, but rather are good sources of the nutrients typically lacking in the diets of older Americans. Usually included in the 35-pound food box is: non-fat dry and shelf-stable fluid milk, juice, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, dry beans, peanut butter, canned meat, poultry, or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables.
As of April 1, 2021, the PA Senior Food Box Program (formerly the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, aka CSFP) no longer requires proof of income in Pennsylvania. Qualifying seniors include low-income individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130 percent of the U.S. poverty level.
The senior box income guidelines are much lower than the Pantry income guidelines. The income guidelines include all the income for all the people living in the household. For example, a household size of 1 person can have income of $17,667 to qualify for a senior box compared to $25,142 to qualify for Pantry food. In a four-person household, the maximum income for all four people must be at or below $36,075 for the senior(s) to receive a box. If there are two or more seniors living in the household and the total income is at or below the limit, each senior can have a box if they want it, but each person must fill out a separate form and everyone living in the household must be named along with their birthdates. Proof of the senior’s age is a requirement. This would be on a driver’s license. No worries if the senior does not drive. We still can qualify them.
Hunger PA has a grant to partner with Door Dash and member food banks to deliver senior boxes. Second Harvest has selected WCHI to be part of this Door Dash program. Once we have our guests signed up, there will be one scheduled day a month and a 2-hour time frame, that the senior will be aware of, that the Senior Boxes will be delivered to the senior’s front door. We are hoping to debut this feature in October.
WCHI is committed to helping as many low-income Whitehall and Coplay residents as possible in our area that qualify both for the Pantry and the Senior Box Program. We also include homebound and mobility impaired residents. Please spread the word through your faith-based bulletins, and by telling your family, friends, and neighbors.
More info on the Senior Boxes to come in a future article. In the meantime, please tell low-income Whitehall-Coplay seniors to call to register with our Pantry. And if financially qualified for a Senior Box, the 35-pound Senior Box of food will be delivered to their door. Questions on the program, please call Gail, WCHI Senior Box Chair, at 484-951-8447.
WCHI Pantry can use any kind of pasta. Please ship or drop to my office at 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052.
Thank you and have a great week!!