Seniors In Arkansas More Likely To Face Food Insecurity

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- Even though Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing regions in the state, many senior citizens still find themselves relying on the assistance of others to have food.

Nearly half of senior citizens in Arkansas worry about where their next meal is coming from, according to a new study on food insecurity.

"We get calls every day about seniors not being able to make it to the end of the month," said Lori Proud, director for Meals on Wheels of Washington County.

Meals on Wheels is an organization which delivers meals to those who cannot afford them.

"Anybody who needs a meal gets a meal. So, even if they are not able to donate for a meal, they are still going to get a hot meal every day. Monday through Friday," Proud said.

According to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, 580,000 Arkansans experience food insecurity.

240,000 of those are senior citizens.

Those with Meals on Wheels said Arkansas has one of the highest rates of senior food insecurity in the nation.

Half of Meals on Wheels funding comes from state, and federal, aid.

"The other half, we have to raise. We do that through community donations, through local businesses anyone that can help us, we take it,” Proud said.

Meals on Wheels said the public can do their part in helping end senior citizen food insecurity by donating money, food, or even their time.

"It takes $5 to feed a homebound senior," Proud said. “These are people who have contributed to the society, in Washington County. They deserve a hot meal, because they paved the way for the rest of us.”

Studies show nearly 20% of households in Arkansas experience food insecurity, one of the highest rates in the nation.