A host of local partners are joining the Kansas Food Bank to bring a new federal food program for low-income seniors to Barton County, said KFB Community Relations Manager Debi Kreutzman.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program will provide monthly food boxes to those age 60 and above who qualify by meeting income requirements. Distributions will start Feb. 8 and will take place at the St. Rose Health Center maintenance building, 3515 Broadway Ave.
“The Commodity Supplemental Food Program serves as a safety net for low income seniors who experience food insecurity,” Kreutzman said. “All too often we find that low income seniors living on a fixed budget have to make difficult choices: they have to choose between paying for their medications or buying food, or they may have to choose between paying higher utility bills or buying food.”
The Kansas Food Bank will schedule registration appointments from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, at the Great Bend RSVP office, 1025 Main. To schedule an appointment, call Kreutzman at 316-265-3663.
Applicants should bring all required documents with them, including proof of identifications, proof of income (Social Security statement) and proof of address. Once approved, they will receive a monthly box and will recertify in six months.
In general, seniors must be Barton County residents with an income of no more than 130 percent of poverty. For a household of one,the monthly gross income cannot exceed $1,307, and for a household of two, the limit is $1,760.
“Currently, 10 percent of all people served by the Kansas Food Bank and our partner agencies are seniors,” Kreutzman said. “We are only going to see that number rise as baby boomers start to age. The CSFP boxes provide seniors with a good mix of nutritious items to help supplement their food needs.”
A lot of partners
Involved locally along with the KFB are the Food Bank of Barton County, Barton County Health Department, RSVP of Central Kansas, Hoisington Food Bank, St. Rose Health Center, United Way of Central Kansas, Eldercare Inc, and Central Kansas Partnership. The Health Department’s Janel Rose encourages seniors and their caretakers to call Kreutzman for an appointment.
“I am very grateful to the community partners who have worked together to bring this program to Barton County seniors,” Rose said. “Community partners working together have truly made a difference in peoples’ lives by bringing this program to our county.”
Food packages include a variety of foods, such as nonfat dry and ultra high temperature fluid milk, juice, farina, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, peanut butter, dry beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, canned fruits and vegetables and cheese.
“This is a wonderful program for seniors that will ensure healthy and sufficient food for those in need,” Rose said. “Not only does it provide healthy food, but it supports seniors’ ability to stay in their own home for a longer time.”
A chance to give back
But, there is more to it, Rose said.
“This is also a great opportunity for community businesses and organizations to support our seniors by volunteering to help with box distribution at the site for one or two hours per month,” Rose said. Volunteers will be needed to carry a 20-25 pound box of food to a vehicle for many elderly participants who no longer can lift that much.
Community businesses and organizations can contact any of the partners at United Way of Central Kansas or RSVP to choose a date for staff or members to help.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program has been around since 2014 nationwide and currently there are 12 other CSFP sites in Kansas. Locally, Cedar Park Place in Great Bend and the Hoisington Food Bank are already participating.
For FY 2017, Congress appropriated $236.120 million for CSFP.