Pantry of Broward Steps in to Fill Void in Senior Services
By BJ Buntrock – Founder of The Pantry of Broward
The same day the stock market lost over $1 trillion, Anne’s food stamps were reduced from an initial $126 a month to a miserable $10 every 30 days. The rules stated that the octogenarian’s $786 a month income from Social Security was too excessive to qualify for the higher rate.
As government talks about a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, The Pantry of Broward is stepping in to keep Anne’s food intake above 1,700 calories a day.
Anne is just one in a growing legion of seniors in Broward County who simply cannot make ends meet. She has cut out nutritious fruit and vegetables from her diet; they are simply too expensive. Cheaper macaroni and processed cheese fills her stomach but weakensher health. And forget her long-gone coffee morning socials with friends.
After working hard all her life and only expecting to live into her early 70s, Anne’s meager savings have been depleted and all she has left is Social Security. And thank goodness for that.
One indication of a disturbing new trend in the levels of poverty in Broward County – and in particular amongst the aged – is that the number of people receiving food stamps has now risen to 100,000 people – a 24 percent increase over August 2007. And it is estimated that only 40 percent of those eligible for food stamps have actually received them, albeit just $10 a month.
The adage goes that “timing is everything.” The Pantry of Broward, a new social service agency serving seniors in need on low, fixed incomes and grandparents raising grandchildren, formally opened its doors a little over a year ago. It has already faced a tsunami of seniors who, out of necessity, have swallowed their pride and asked for help.
Despite the overall economic gloom, our community needs to step forward to help our aged neighbors. The human consequences of not doing so are simply unconscionable.
Elizabeth “BJ” Buntrock
All of us at the Community Foundation of Broward thank the almost 700 partners, sponsors and supporters who helped us celebrate the For Good Awards on February 14, 2012 at the Signature Grand, and the Re-engage for Good initiative behind it. Congratulations again to BJ and finalists, Mari Menell-Bell and Chuck Nicholls.
BJ Buntrock receives her 2012 For Good Awards prize from Linda B. Carter, President/CEO of Community Foundation of Broward.
There are half a million baby boomers in Broward County. What will your encore career be when the time comes for you to retire? When will you join BJ and others in the Re-engage for Good Hall of Fame?