U.S. Postal Service workers across the country are gearing up for the 20th annual National Letter Carrier Food Drive this Saturday, May 12.
In Southwest Florida, non-perishable food items left at mailboxes will be collected by letter carriers and distributed to food service organizations including the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida in Lee County and Collier Harvest in Collier County.
It’s estimated nearly 9 million Americans 50 and older face the risk of hunger. That’s the impetus for a summit Wednesday at Florida Gulf Coast University sponsored by the Harry Chapin Food Bank (HCFB).
Florida, with its large retiree population, combined with the ailing economy, is perhaps ground zero for senior hunger. The forum is aimed at gauging the scope of the problem and brainstorming for ways to help. HCFB Director Al Brislain said hunger can sometimes arrive unexpectedly with loss of a spouse and that spouse’s pension.
“You can just picture the senior that’s got a condo payment and they need both those pensions and they don’t have a second one and given the state of the economy right now they can’t sell that condo,” he said.
Brislain says many seniors are also depleting their budgets by helping out children and grandchildren who’ve lost their jobs.