By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--After an AARP roundtable discussion with hunger advocates in Philadelphia, the non-profit organization is working to come up with a follow-up report on the problem of hunger among people 50 and over.
AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh says the number of folks between ages 50-59 threatened by hunger is way up.
“They’re the ones that aren’t ready to be on some of the programs at the state and federal level, and they’re falling through the cracks.’
He says for many hungry older adults, their circumstances changed after having their hours cut back, or losing their jobs, spouses or partners.”
Philadelphia State Representative Vanessa Lowery-Brown, who is chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, says it’s often difficult to recognize someone who hasn’t eaten much, especially if that person, like a great many seniors, is too proud or embarrassed to tell anyone.
She says, “There is a stigma associated with being hungry. So this is a silent issue that is plaguing our community.”
Caryn Long of Feeding Pennsylvania, the hunger-relief charity, says they’re working collectively with food banks to educate people, many of whom think hunger only exists in the poorest neighborhoods or third world countries.