Photo courtesy: El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank
Across the nation and in El Paso, there is an unprecedented increase in the number of seniors struggling with food insecurity. Due to the need for ongoing food assistance, it has become imperative that nutrition programs are strengthened and protected to support healthy aging.
To address this need in the area, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank is piloting a home delivery program for shut-in seniors or disabled with a mobility barrier and those who are quarantined due to diagnosis or pending diagnosis of Covid-19.
“At present, the program in partnership with Lyft, where Lyft makes deliveries to 800 homebound individuals throughout El Paso, is funded in part by Master Card, which pays for Lyft drivers, and funds from the Area Agency on Aging, which pays for the senior food boxes,” EPFH officials share.
“The program has the capacity to provide food assistance to 1,000 seniors and additional individuals who are shut-ins due to self-quarantines or mobility issues, the program is currently taking registrations for a wait list.”
In El Paso, officials say that approximately 67,000 seniors are considered low income and/or are eligible to receive food from EPFH. For inquiries or information, call 915-298-0353. To register, click here.
Volunteers with EPFH gather at various distribution points in El Paso to fill Lyft cars with food which is delivered to El Paso families in need who are homebound.
“The delivery process is based on a contactless delivery, the driver will call the participant and let them know that they are on their way to their home,” EPFH officials add. “When they are at the house the driver leaves the food boxes at the front door, the driver will call again and let the participant know that the food is at the door…the drivers are not allowed to go into anyone’s home for any reason.”
The boxes are delivered Monday – Friday between the hours of 8 am and 1 pm.
In 2018, state-level estimates of senior food insecurity were at 10.7 percent in Texas with 3.7 percent being very low food secure. Texas ranks as one of the Top Ten states with the highest rates of food insecurity among seniors.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in March, the food bank has faced a soaring demand and are serving more families and individuals struggling with hunger.
“So far, EPFH has distributed 358,958 emergency food boxes serving 246,016 families at 5 major distribution sites and several mobile sites per week,” officials added.
EPFH is working to ensure that individuals impacted by COVID-19 and related disruptions continue to have the nutritious food they need. The food bank’s crisis team is partnered with Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks, and local partners to ensure the safest handling of food and distributions to our communities.