More Central Texas seniors applying for food assistance
MCLENNAN COUNTY -- Some would argue the days of a comfortable retirement are long gone and statistics from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission reflect that very statement.
The fastest-growing group of Texans receiving food stamps is the 60-to-64 age bracket.
In the past six years, the number of those people receiving food assistance has jumped by 106 percent to 85,000.
"We have seen an increase in seniors," said Esther Morales, program director for McLennan County Helpings: SNAP/Food Stamp Outreach program.
From June 2011 to June 2012 there has been a 4.6 percent increase in McLennan County seniors age 60-64 and a 5.6 percent growth in those ages 65 and older.
But Morales says there are even more seniors out there who need help getting food.
"Health conditions and transportation and the ability to know information, where to go, have not even touched the iceberg of applying for federal benefits," said Morales.
So the McLennan County Hunger Coalition is reaching out through a program called Helpings where members visit seniors personally.
"To give them information, applications, to give them answers to questions they want to know about," said Morales.
Apart from the effects of an economic collapse, Morales said a vast majority of seniors they work with are raising their grandchildren or even great grandchildren, taking on the role of mom and dad again on a much smaller budget.