South Plains Food Bank fighting senior hunger in wake of winter storm

Food Bank fighting senior hunger

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Before the pandemic, Texas ranked as the fifth highest state for food insecurity among seniors, according to Tusk Strategies. COVID-19 and last week’s storm has only made that worse.

Dina Jeffries at the South Plains Food Bank says half of Texas seniors face food insecurity.

She says every month, on Senior Box distribution day, at least one visitor says they almost had to choose between food and medication.

“And now with the winter storm that just hit our state, now they’re saying we don’t know if we can pay our utility bills, pay for food, and pay for medication,” Jeffries said.

The South Plains Food Bank served between 600 and a thousand senior citizens during Thursday’s distribution.

Jeffries says one part of the problem is the complicated application process for SNAP benefits.

“If you don’t have a computer, or you’re not literate in computer technologies, you’re going to have a problem filling out the application. I learned yesterday it’s a 32-page document. 18 pages have to be completed,” Jeffries said.

Wednesday, SPFB joined a coalition advocating the passage of a bill in Texas legislature that would simplify the certification and recertification process for SNAP benefits.

“I think if we all just do our part and learn what we can, and one voice really does make a difference. One voice can make some much-needed change,” Jeffries said.

Lubbock State Senator Charles Perry is sponsoring the proposal.

He says it makes little sense for senior citizens to have to fight through red tape for benefits.

Simplifying the renewal process, he says, will help ensure continued access to healthy food and a better life.

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