Senior Food Boxes help increase food security among older adults
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP, provides boxes of nutritious food to low-income seniors
By Emily Gallion, Grant & Metrics Manager/Advocacy Manager, and Caitlyn McIntosh, Volunteer/Intake Support
Eating a healthy, well balanced diet is something we all strive to do, especially as we get older and make adjustments to our needs. With aging comes dietary changes, and purchasing diet-specific foods can create a financial burden on seniors already living within a fixed income.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), also known as the Senior Food Box Program, is a United States Department of Agriculture program designed to supplement the health of low-income older adults.
CSFP provides a monthly box of a variety of food, including canned fruits and vegetables, shelf stable milk, canned protein, peanut butter, and cheese. Seniors enrolled in this program receive one box per month free of charge. The USDA selects and purchases the food used in this program, which The Foodbank administers with the oversight of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
Nationwide, the CSFP program serves about 619,000 older adults annually. According to Feeding America, each box costs the USDA $27 and results in a product with an average retail value of $50. The nutritious food available in the box helps prevent health consequences of food insecurity, including hospital stays and nursing home placements.
One 2019 study of CSFP clients in Rhode Island found that 84.9% of those surveyed were found to be food insecure prior to enrolling in the program. After enrolling, overall rates of food insecurity dropped to 64.1%.
The CSFP program is especially important to protect the health of older adults. According to the Food Research Action Center, older adults who experience food insecurity are 19% more likely to have high blood pressure, 57% more likely to have congestive heart failure, 65% more likely to be diabetic, and 66% more likely to have experienced a heart attack.
The Foodbank currently distributes CSFP boxes at 21 different locations across Montgomery and Greene counties. These include apartment complexes, senior living communities, and the drive thru at our warehouse. These distribution sites are selected with accessibility in mind. Placing food directly into cars or distributing directly in living communities makes transporting food much easier.
Last year, The Foodbank distributed over 2.3 million pounds of CSFP food. Over 1,000 seniors were enrolled in the program.
Because CSFP is administered through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, it is the only Foodbank program that has an application process. To enroll in the program, you must be 60 years of age or older and living at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. To see if you qualify, check your income against the chart below:
2021 CSFP Income Guidelines
|Household Size||Annual Income||Monthly Income||Weekly Income|
|For each additional member, add…||5,902||$492||$114|
You may fill out an application at our office or have one mailed to you by calling Emily Riley at 937-461-0265 x54.