SENIOR HUNGER (CSFP/NAPS)
Our food bank and senior hunger team help thousands of Minnesotans each month with free boxes of healthy, shelf-stable food through the USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
Senior Hunger is Real and Prevalent
We Help Older Minnesotans Access Healthy Food
For many Minnesotans, aging means making difficult choices. Housing, medication or healthy food? Inflation, fixed incomes and the pandemic all contribute to record demand by seniors for hunger relief in our region.
Through our food bank operations and our hunger-fighting programming, we work to reduce the gaps in nutrition services for older Minnesotans.
Free Monthly Food Boxes for Seniors with CSFP
One program that helps us achieve those goals and reduce food insecurity for seniors is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), also know as the Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsors CSFP/NAPS across all 50 states. Low-income seniors age 60+ can sign up and receive a free box of healthy, shelf-stable groceries each month.
In Minnesota alone, 14,000 seniors receive a monthly food box, which helps them channel precious financial resources toward urgent expenses like medicine and utilities instead of groceries. Second Harvest Heartland serves 6,500 of these CSFP/NAPS program participants through our distribution efforts.
Know a Senior Who Needs Food Assistance?
Handling CSFP/NAPS Food Distribution and Logistics Across 230 Sites
Second Harvest Heartland plays a vital role in Minnesota’s CSFP/NAPS program. We:
- Pack and distribute senior food boxes at 230 sites across a 41-county area. Our scale and efficiency at food bank operations and our extensive network of food shelves and agency partners makes this valuable work possible. We even offer CSFP/NAPS pick up at our Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, headquarters.
- Help eligible older adults understand and apply for CSFP/NAPS benefits. Our expert team of senior hunger specialists and our dedicated customer service volunteers help seniors and referral partners answer questions, determine program eligibility and even help those in our service area complete their applications. Our outreach spans the entire state of Minnesota.
- Support our community partners with senior hunger resources, education and outreach. Far too many older adults miss out on the food and nutrition benefits they deserve through lack of awareness, fear of stigma or hesitation to accept help. Our ongoing research, advocacy and communications help more organizations and individuals step forward and work to end senior hunger together.
Demand Grows as a Generation Ages
The Impact of Senior Hunger
Baby Boomers, born before 1964 or earlier, are now the fastest-growing users of food shelves. As one of our largest generations ages, the critical need for nutrition, food security and ending senior hunger becomes clear.
For seniors struggling to make ends meet, these scenarios are common:
- Running out of food
- Skipping meals
- Choosing between food and medicine
- Postponing medical care
- Developing poor health outcomes
- Facing higher health care costs
There are very significant immediate, short- and long-term impacts to mental and physical health and well-being when you lack access to enough nutritious food for an active, healthy life. In addition, food insecurity can increase the risks associated with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and many other chronic conditions.
Dedicated Senior Hunger Resources
Meet Our Senior Hunger Team
Ending senior hunger takes a collaborative, coordinated effort. Second Harvest Heartland staffs a full-time team of senior hunger specialists, CSFP/NAPS site coordinators and logistics experts.
In addition, more than 900 volunteers support the CSFP/NAPS program across our 41-county Minnesota service area. These many dedicated individuals at our Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, facility and across our partner network work diligently to:
- Enroll new seniors in the CSFP/NAPS program
- Source shelf-stable and healthy commodity food that meets USDA requirements
- Pack thousands of individual senior food boxes each month
- Safely and efficiently transport food boxes to our distribution partners
- Staff more than 230 pick-up sites and ensure each participating senior receives their food box