Food insecurity is a real issue for more people than you might think. Food security is the access to sufficient food for a healthy and active life for all household members at all times. If a household is food insecure, they worry about running out without having money to buy more. They often have to reduce the size of meals, or skip them altogether.
According to the USDA, over 1 in 10 households in Wisconsin are food insecure. That translates to 12.4% of all people and 20.4% of children. In Dane County, the numbers are only slightly lower at 11.8% of people and 17.5% of children. That means that almost 1 in 5 children in Dane County does not get enough to eat. The numbers are even starker in vulnerable populations.
Food insecurity and hunger can have a variety of significant health consequences for older adults. They can limit their ability to carry on daily activities and live independently. Maintaining good health, consuming a nutritious diet and managing chronic disease can be especially challenging for adults living with food insecurity. One solution is to connect vulnerable older adults to federal nutrition programs like the one operated by NewBridge at the Madison Senior Center, which provides congregate and home delivered meals. A second program to connect them with is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The Madison Senior Center is collaborating with the River Food Pantry in an effort to remove barriers for older adults who need food, but do not have the means to get to a food pantry, and then get the products back to their home. The River Food Pantry has an ePantry, which allows adults to go online once a month, and order the food that they would like to receive. A volunteer will pick up the order and bring it to the Madison Senior Center. The ePantry may only be used once per month per household, but you may use other food pantries or walk in to the River Food Pantry if additional groceries are needed/
All ordering must be complete by the 3rd Tuesday of the month, and all food must be picked up on the 3rd Thursday of the month between 10:00am and 12:00pm. If you do not have a computer, you can use the computer lab at the senior center. If you are uncertain about how to place an order, on the 3rd Tuesday, we will also have 1:1 assistance available in the computer lab.
To be eligible to use the River Food Pantry you must live in Dane County, and meet the TEFAP eligibility and income guidelines. The guidelines are set at 300% of the federal poverty level. Eligibility is based on self-declared income. To get started you have to fill out a form, which is located on the River Food Pantry website, bring in proof of identification (state ID, driver’s license, insurance card, etc.) AND proof of residency in Dane County (utility bill, lease agreement, mail, etc.).
There is no charge so if you experience food insecurity try this program. If you have a friend or a neighbor who could benefit, please share this information with them. This program is available to all people who live in Dane County.