On Tuesday, February 23, 3:00pm at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, 4th floor, the Aging in New York Fund, the philanthropic arm of the New York City Department for the Aging, is partnering with Restoration to host a panel discussion on "New York City Seniors and The Rising Food Insecurity Crisis."
Studies show that a major cause of food insecurity is poverty, and 17 percent of older New Yorkers live below the federal poverty level for several mounting reasons: Many NYC seniors have no meaningful retirement income beyond Social Security; recent SNAP cuts have also resulted in $228 less in groceries per year per NYC household, as reported by NY Coalition Against Hunger. And among immigrant seniors and among older women, poverty rates are even higher, particularly among those who do not qualify for Social Security.
"Brooklyn now has close to 65,000 seniors who are food insecure," said Tracey Capers, executive vice president at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. "At this year's symposium, we hope to not only raise awareness of insecurity but also offer alternative ways that seniors can supplement their food. It is imperative that we work collaboratively and find creative and affordable ways to reduce hunger among older New Yorkers."
The event will feature speakers from community-based organizations that have an interest in reducing food insecurity locally, particularly among Brooklyn seniors. Program panelists include:
- Caryn Resnick, Executive Director of the Aging in New York Fund;
- Maria Alvarez, Executive Director of the Brooklyn-wide Interagency Council on Aging;
- Jose Luis Sanchez, Program Manager for Citymeals on Wheels;
- Jennifer Goodstein, President and Publisher of the Community News Group;
- Maggie Meehan, Associate Director of Nutrition Education at City Harvest;
- Lisa A. Boyd, Chief Operating Officer from NEBHDCo, (The Northeast BrooklynHousing Development Corporation);
- Terry Kaelber, Director of the Community Engagement Projects United NeighborhoodHouses of New York; and
- Tracey Capers, Executive Vice President of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporationwill serve as program moderator.
The speakers will describe the efforts of their respective organizations to combat the rising food insecurity crisis in NYC. Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation will have staff on hand to pre-screen eligible older adults for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
In addition to onsite SNAP pre-screenings conducted by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, attendees will learn about other resources that can help reduce food insecurity, including enrolment at their local senior center where hot meals are available, using local food pantries, and participating in local projects that connect seniors with nearby gardens for fresh foods.
"Older New Yorkers should not have to choose between paying for their medicines or paying for food," said John David Mahder, Chairperson, Board of Directors for the Aging in New York Fund. "We must put an end to food insecurity among seniors and this symposium, and many more like it, is one way to do just that."