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Faces of the Food Bank: Patricia

The Food Bank’s CSFP (Commodity Supplemental Food Program) distributions serve approximately 26,000 seniors on a monthly basis. Qualifying seniors receive a 40 pound kit of food every month. This USDA program works to improve the health of low-income people over the age of 60 by supplementing their diets with nutrient-dense foods such as rice, beans, peanut butter and fruit.

Patricia, 71, has been a CSFP recipient at the Lincoln Heights Senior Center for several years. She has to spend more than half of her disability check on rent. “This program really helps me,” she says. “I enjoy the products that I receive. I think the milk is terrific and I like the cereal.” Because of this assistance, Patricia says she is able to afford things like ground turkey and fresh produce from the store, which she likes to make with the pasta she receives each month. “I can make a lot of meals with what you give me and it lasts the whole month,” she says. “It helps me have a better diet. Sometimes we even get yogurt and fresh vegetables.”

Patricia says the program helps her save a lot of money, which she can spend on medicine, haircuts and books. “I really love to read. I feel so rich when I go to the secondhand store to buy books.”

Patricia feels lucky compared to some of the other seniors in need of assistance. “I think people assume that their families will take care of them,” she said. “A lot of people live in rooms and cook on hot plates. Some of them never had children.”

She also noted that many seniors have to pay more for healthcare than she does. “Sometimes it’s eat or go without medicine.”

“I really benefit from the things you do,” she said. “It makes me happy and it makes a lot of other people happy. It’s like Christmas every month! …Thank you for your service, your time and your commitment.”

Seniors make up 12% of the Food Bank’s clientele. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, we are able to serve low-income seniors through our partner agency network and Food Bank programs, helping to ease some of the tough financial choices like buying groceries, paying utility bills or paying for medicine.


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