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New study ranks Louisiana 3rd in senior hunger

A new study released by Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, ranks the state of Louisiana in the nation in senior food insecurity.

Feeding America's State of Senior Hunger in 2020 study documents food insecurity among seniors age 60 and older at the national, state, and metro areas. Food insecurity refers to a lack of consistent access to enough food for everyone in a household to live a healthy lifestyle.

According to the study, 12 percent of seniors age 60 and older in Louisiana struggle to put food on the table. Louisiana's 12 percent food insecurity rate is the third-highest among seniors in the country, behind Washington, D.C. and Mississippi, and is approximately double the national rate of 6.8 percent.

"Food insecurity is a complex issue, and seniors face many unique challenges when it comes to accessing food," said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. "Whether they are choosing between food and medicine or fuel, too many seniors have to make difficult decisions that could have harmful effects on their health and wellbeing and we are seeing that seniors from certain communities are more often having to make these decisions."

The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana is a member of the Feeding America network of Food Banks and serves about 30,000 people each month in a 12-parish service region. The Food Bank provides food assistance to thousands of seniors struggling with hunger through Senior Program, Partner Agency Program, and Mobile Pantry Program.

"It's easy to assume that our older neighbors and family members are getting along just fine, but the sad reality is far too many simply do not have enough money to cover the cost of groceries," said Jean Toth, executive director of the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana. "You can help struggling seniors in our community by supporting the Food Bank's hunger-relief programs."