Found the following report in The Huffington Post. The trend reported here is one we've noticed in Dallas at our Resource Center.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Older Americans who were raised on stories of the Great Depression and acquired lifelong habits of thrift now find themselves crowding soup kitchens and food pantries in greater numbers for the first time after seeing retirement funds, second jobs and nest eggs wiped out by recession.
"What we see in line is lots of gray hair, lots of walkers," said Marti Forman, CEO of The Cooperative Feeding Program in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The help is crucial for many fixed-income seniors, who can't always keep up with rising food prices.
"It's a lifeline. It just means that you can function," said Ronald Shewchuk of Ithaca, N.Y. "Otherwise we would have to sell our house. I don't know what we would do. Go to an old age home."
The number of seniors living alone who seek help from food pantries in the U.S. increased 81 percent to 408,000 in 2008, compared to 225,000 in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Overall, 4.7 million households used American food pantries in 2008, compared to about 3.7 million in 2006.
"Seniors thought they were OK, but they're not OK," said Virginia Skinner, director of Development at The Association of Arizona Food Banks in Phoenix, citing the downturn in the area's housing market.
Catholic Charities USA, which has 170 agencies across the country helping the needy, issued a 2009 third-quarter report that found a 54 percent increase in requests for food and services from seniors nationwide compared to the same period last year.
Despite the increased need, it can be difficult for some older people to come forward and seek help.
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