Removing Barriers to Help Seniors Eat Healthy

During a recent week in Michigan, weather swung from a sunny 48 degrees down to 20 degrees with a few inches of ice and snow. This unpredictable Michigan weather makes planning ahead difficult—especially for the elderly. Seniors in need also experiences transportation barriers and often live on a fixed income, which can make eating healthy nearly impossible. Last year, Gleaners’ Senior Food Mobiles and My Neighborhood Mobile Grocery (MNMG) pop-up markets reached 3,121 seniors—with a goal to serve more people in 2020.

To help Gleaners reach more seniors in need, we are launching our annual Harold & Kay Match Challenge. For the month of March, you can help Gleaners ensure seniors in our community have access to the healthy food they need, right where they live.

Gleaners staff and volunteers weathered last week’s snow to deliver fresh produce and other healthy foods to 18 different MNMG locations. “This service is indispensable,” said Peggy Quinn, a resident at Village Center Senior Apartments in Detroit. “I have access to things I can’t get at the corner store.” Peggy visits the pop-up market regularly to get celery, cabbage and fresh tomatoes. “These groceries help balance my diet and my expenses,” said Peggy. “I’m on a fixed income and need help wherever I can get it.”

Theresa Jordan is a lifelong Detroiter at 93-years-old and has called the Village Center Senior Apartments home for the past eight years. During the visit, Theresa received fresh grapes, milk and healthy snacks. She also ordered mustard greens for her neighbor. Many residents at Village Center Senior Apartments ordered food for their neighbors and chatted about what they could cook together. “Groceries cost an arm and a leg, and I lived on a budget,” said Theresa. “This is a tremendous help—I’m all by myself. I don’t know what I would do without it.”

The MNMG team also braved the ice last week to deliver the weekly Thursday morning pop-up market at the Royal Oak Manor Senior Apartments. While most residents are retired and live on a fixed income, some seniors must work to make ends meet. “I have diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Karen Pridemore, a resident at Royal Oak Manor. “I know I need to eat healthier, and this sure helps!” Karen was able to order all the healthy produce she needed for the week, before heading to her morning shift at Rite Aid. Karen is on two types of costly blood pressure medication. She also struggles with diabetes and sleep apnea. The regular pop-up market helps ensure she has access to healthy food while continuing to focus on her health. When she purchases fresh produce at MNMG, she gets credit to use the following week.

Lynn, another resident at Royal Oak, helped her neighbors get up-to-speed on the MNMG checkout process. “When I moved in, I was so surprised to have this grocery store here. I come every week—I have to,” said Lynn. She struggles with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. “I can’t walk up a flight of stairs. I used to have a friend drive me to the grocery store when I lived in Redford, but I don’t have anyone here.” said Lynn. Volunteers helped Lynn pack four full bags of groceries, including bananas, frozen lean meats and cereal.

You can help Gleaners ensure seniors have access to quality, affordable food. Contributing to the Harold & Kay Match Challenge helps Gleaners support a critically underserved population and continues a legacy of neighborly love started by Harold & Kay back in 2014.

Donate today, and your gift will be doubled. Just $60 feeds four people for one month! Please give generously today.