Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Signs Proclamation for Elder Hunger Awareness Month – June 2015

Proclamation signed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin for  Elder Hunger Awareness Month June 2015

How is it possible that we have Senior Citizens living right here in Oklahoma who are on Social Security but malnourished?  Please read and  share with others about:  hidden hunger of our elderly 

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Is Your Grandma Hungry and You Don’t Know It? Senior/Elder Hunger ~ The Hidden Epidemic in America.

Elder Hunger Awareness Month Proclamation signed by Governor Mary Fallin  for June 2015.

Oklahoma ranks #8, in the nation, for senior hunger! 1/3 of Seniors in Oklahoma City are hungry on a daily basis, yet hunger in Oklahoma is higher in many rural areas.

  • Elderly people struggling with hunger may be ashamed for others to know.
  • Social Security does not keep a person from going hungry
  • Hunger affects health as health is heavily determined by what we eat.
  • Many factors, not just poverty, contribute to hunger.
  • The grief of the widowed may be compounded by lack of money.


The majority of those seniors who face the threat of hunger,  are white (63%), have incomes above the poverty line and  are widowed, with disabled widows at a higher risk.  Among the most pronounced increases, for food insecurity, are the retired, those who do not live in a metro area, women, and households with no grandchildren present.

One in three Oklahomans rely on Social Security for their total income. However, there is no minimum Social Security benefit amount.  At the death of a spouse, while one Social Security benefit goes away  rent and utilities, insurance, taxes,  maintenance/repair continue and become more expensive, as time goes on.   If there was a  first or second mortgage on the home, there may not be much equity in the home so by selling it she might  go in the hole with fees and closing costs. Many widows spend years paying off the expensive funeral for their late spouse.

While more than 50% of  households  receiving food through food banks are also receiving food stamps, a Senior receiving  the average  Social Security benefit does not qualify for the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly called  food stamps.  One widow who did receive SNAP, lost her $22 monthly  benefit when the Social Security cost-of-living increased this year,  putting her over the allowed income.

79% of households  report that as they are unable to stretch their dollar far enough to buy enough food to sustain their health they purchase inexpensive,  unhealthy food. Processed foods (packaged) may seem cheaper, but can adversely affect one’s health.   

MANY FACTORS, NOT JUST POVERTY, CONTRIBUTE TO HUNGER. A large number of Oklahoma seniors skip meals in order to pay for dental care when they simply can’t endure  the  pain that makes it extremely uncomfortable to eat.  The need for hearing aids or for eyeglasses that get broken or are no longer strong enough can reduce the small amount they normally use for food as Medicare, in the state of Oklahoma, does NOT cover glasses or  hearing aids. It is an ongoing battle for many elderly to just find the money for  the medication that needs to be taken with food, to assure its effectiveness. With very little left to buy food for the month some resort to:

(a) payday loans  with Annual Percent Rates of 391% or higher.  Oklahoma is No. 1 in Payday Loan Usage – NPR State Impact


(b) credit card companies that  may add a late fee of $35 and the APR may be increased to the variable penalty of 29.99% when  the minimum payment is not received by the due date!

Either one  puts them further in debt. 


There are more than 100,000 widows in Oklahoma. 40% of women in Oklahoma, over the age of 65, are widowed and nearly 70% of widows in Oklahoma live alone.

The cost of the loved ones funeral can be devastating for the widowed when there is no life insurance or other income to help with the expense. Many have depleted their savings, due to the low interest rates they were receiving, which left them no choice but to use the principal. Many receive no company pension.

A lack of money can play a big  part in widows becoming isolated.  Embarrassed and ashamed by their situation, they are afraid if they get close to someone they will learn the truth.    There isn’t money to buy a little extra food to take to a potluck. Many times there is no choice but to decline offers to socialize. Many times it is a hardship to buy gas for the car to get to church once a week. Even  a small gift for a grandchild’s birthday may be financially outside the realm of possibilities. Feeling ashamed and believing they are the only ones in their predicament further isolates them as they tell no one.


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”                                                                                    ~ Leo F. Buscaglia


Enough healthy food for adequate nutrition is important,  to  reduce the rates of obesity,  diabetes and other chronic diseases and the accompanying skyrocketing healthcare costs.

The  health of low-income elderly persons,  60 years of age and older, can be improved by supplementing their diets with nutritious foods.

Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending Senior hunger. Each of us can all do something! Working together, we can solve hunger in Oklahoma.


“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in. ”                                                                   ~ Mother Teresa   ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““
*In Oklahoma, Feeding America food banks serve the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma   (Oklahoma City) and  Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma  (Tulsa, OK )

Senior/Elder Hunger ~ The Hidden Epidemic in America.


Posted in Baby Boomers, Blessings, Diabetes help, Easy meals, Elder Hunger, Farmers in Oklahoma, Finances, Food, Foods for the heart, Grandparenting, Groceries, Healthy eating, Inspiration, Making Changes, Money Found, Neighbors, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Parenting, Prayer Changes Things, Prescription Drugs, Saving Money, Senior Citizen Discounts, Senior Citizens, Senior Hunger, stress, Stroke-Food to help reduce risk, strokes, Students, Things to see and do in Tulsa, Tulsa, volunteer, Volunteer work, Volunteering, volunteers, weight, Widow, Widowed, Widower, widowers, Widows | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Seniors May Appreciate a Grocery Store Gift Card More Than Anything Else You Can Buy Them

Mother’s Day
In 2014,  $3.65 billion was spent on jewelry for Mother’s Day; $2.35 billion on flowers and $780 million on greeting cards, according to AARP.

Birthdays, Christmas, and other gift giving occasions
Mom or Grandma doesn’t need more perfume, another blouse or knick-knacks to set on a shelf to dust.   What many older adults aren’t sharing is  that with interest rates so low they have had to dip deeper into their saving and are struggling.

Why not help our parents and grandparents or another elderly person we know with a grocery store gift card. Their response to something like that will tell you real quick if they are struggling a bit.


Our goal is to educate people that vulnerable seniors are having to choose between food and other basic needs, present some suggestions and listen to others ideas on what they can do to help with this unnecessary burden some are quietly carrying.


Posted in Baby Boomers, Birthdays and Anniversaries, Blessings, Elder Hunger, Finances, Grandparenting, Great ideas!, Groceries, HAppy, Healthy eating, Inspiration, Neighbors, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Senior Citizens, Senior Hunger, Volunteering, volunteers, Widow, Widowed, Widower, widowers, Widows | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seriously, I think I am a sheep.


Untended, sheep will drink from the muddiest and filthiest, “urine and parasite polluted ” waters. They will eat poisonous plants or starve, instead of moving on to greener pastures when their own field is stripped of foliage. The Shepherd stays close to his sheep, watching over and protecting them as he guides his flock in the right direction to keep them safely out of harms way, to  the cleanest sources of pure, sparkling water, and a place to rest.

Manure, mud, leaves, and twigs mat a sheep’s fleece causing it  to become top heavy and “cast down” (rolling onto it’s back). Unable to regain balance and totally helpless, if not “righted” by their shepherd, sheep face a certain death.

Flies lay eggs in sheep nostrils, burrowing  in deep and causing severe inflammation and irritation.  Left untreated, the sheep may harm or even kill themselves as they butt into trees and rocks, in an effort to ease the pain. A mixture of linseed oil poured over the sheep’s head brings instant relief from the annoying flies.

Timid and fearful, sheep are quick to panic. When one begins to run others  immediately  follow,  without knowing what the danger is.  In eastern Turkey in 2006,  four hundred sheep plunged to their death after following one of the sheep that tried to cross a 15-meter deep ravine.

Straying from the flock, into an area that looks inviting, sheep are vulnerable to attack.   The enemy always looks for a lonely sheep that has strayed.  Isolated and helplessly lost  a lone sheep faces hunger, frustration, being hurt, scared and lonely.

1 Peter 5:8  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.



A shepherd ‘s life revolves around the care of his sheep, providing for the sheep’s every need for  survival – food, shelter and  protection from enemies.  Shepherds lead their sheep, always walking in front to face dangers in order to protect the sheep and willing to sacrifice his own life to  save one.   

King David, the best known shepherd of Bible history, describes the Good Shepherd, who watches over his flock,  provides for every need  and would literally sacrifice himself in order to protect and save his sheep.

 John 10:10-11 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11″I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   Circumstances of life may make us feel like a lost sheep; isolated and all alone; timid and fearful without any support.

It’s no coincidence that  God likens us to sheep. We humans act like sheep: The weatherman mentions the possibility of snow, and in a panic we rush to the grocery store; cleaning the shelves of soup, bread, milk and toilet paper.

Just as sheep are unable to survive on their own, it is true for humans.  Like sheep we easily wander to what may at first appear inviting but is, in reality, dangerous and  leads to destruction. No matter how powerful, clever, sophisticated, and/or self-sufficient one may feel, there comes a time when one is faced with frailty of life and learn that our abilities are simply not adequate. When faced with the unknown and unexplainable, our first reaction is fear as we think we are in so deep that there is no way out. We feel helpless and hopeless and maybe realize how much we need a shepherd.  No matter how far we have strayed from Him, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Who was always been there quietly awaiting our request for His help hears our plea and  comes quickly to provide His guidance, protection and comfort.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”   Isaiah 53:6  

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Once we make the choice to “look unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2), He will guide us safely home, as our Shepherd, never leaving us or forsaking us.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 NIV)

Just as sheep instantly recognize the voice of their shepherd and will follow him, Jesus is the Great Shepherd and his sheep (his true followers) recognize his voice and follow Him. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27 In the same way, Christ’s presence “dispels the fear, the panic, the terror of the unknown”. When troubled and need peace, His sheep can draw strength from Him and experience His peace, because He is the source.

In the Old Testament, wool represented pride and selfishness. We may not even realize we are carrying and being  dragged down by “burdens ” of materialism, arrogance and self-reliance. Just as sheep are sheared  of hot, heavy, matted wool* to get rid of  the heavy burden they have been carrying around God can clean all the manure and other nasty, stinking filth that we have been carrying around from our lives. “He restores my soul”.

Like sheep we may be agitated and tense, highly stressed,  refusing to lay down and rest. A shepherd’s presence calms his flock by reassuring and relaxes them.   “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2.

We are incapable to make it on our own  to heaven yet through the strength of Jesus, we can overcome anything in life, including death. Through Jesus, we even overcome death. He bequeaths the gift of Eternal Life to those who follow Him, according to His teachings.

The first verse in  Psalm 91, says, “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” In order to be under the shadow of something, we need to stay close to it. John 10 (NIV)   When we stay close to the Good Shepherd, daily seeking Him and faithfully following Him  He can provide a safe place to turn for wisdom and help; protecting us from being preyed on by the enemy.  Only Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd can fill the empty space in our hearts and give us both hope and peace as we face things that are too hard to handle alone.

Misunderstandings, unforgiveness, hurt feelings, and the ordinary irritations and frustrations of daily life are like the “flies” that torment sheep.   Just as a mixture of linseed oil poured over a sheep’s head brings instant relief from the irritation and annoyance….to  humans oil represents the power of the Holy Spirit. Since the beginning of Christianity it has been customary for Christians to be anointed with fragrant oil for healing from serious or life-threatening illnesses, and at baptisms, confirmation and ordinations. During difficult times God graciously pours out the gift of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, infusing us with wisdom, perseverance, peace and generosity, to transform our penchant for intolerance, envy and  insecurity.

In the Bible, sheep are used as metaphors as the followers of Christ, (gentle, quiet, innocent animals that do not give their shepherds a lot of problems).  31 “When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. 32 And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.  –Matthew 25: 31-33

Lord,  Please help me to realize that  I am helpless and cannot do everything on my own. Thank you for helping me to remember that what makes me strong is the understanding of my need for You and that leaning on Your strength is not weakness at all, but power beyond measure. I ask that you  help me surrender total control of my life to you, allowing You to lead me and be the Shepherd of my life.   I thank you for protecting, providing and guiding me in everything I do and for always being with me. Thank you, Lord that by Your wisdom I am saved. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we pray. 
“The Lord is my shepherd!


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Are Churches Failing the Widow?

As death is inevitable for each one of us, many of us will be the one left behind to walk this lonely road, alone.  Yet, the impact of grief and widowhood is not something for which one can prepare, even when the death is anticipated.

Studies show that widows lose 75 percent of the  people they believed were friends when their spouse passes. No longer part of a couple the widow is not included in couples events.   When she runs into a friend they may insist they will call her to get together, but they never do. The loss of friends seems insignificant compared to the huge loss of a husband. However, losing long time friends is unexpected and widows grieve the loss of friends while grieving the loss of our loved one. A widow’s identity and role change when she went from wife to “widow”.

The loss of her partner, compounded by this loss of identity (where she no longer participates in activities in the role of someone’s wife) has a profound effect on her sense of self-worth and can trigger  low self esteem.   Widows hate the label of widow, which  carries an awful stigma all its own. Strange noises in the middle of the night is nothing compared to the emotional pain of feeling alone and forgotten. When faced with the greatest darkness she has ever felt, everything seems broken and friendships gone. The pain is overwhelming and she doesn’t want to be alone.

FEELING LIKE A MISFIT: Social loneliness is experienced due to one not feeling like they are a member of their community and/or no close friends or family to rely on. A person can be either emotionally or socially lonely, or both.  Widows are likely to have more friends if they belong to a church.

From the moment of her loved ones death the widow starts the slippery slope downhill.  One pastor described widows saying they move from the front row of the church to the back, and then out the door.

On forums where widows can post anonymously, time and time again we see these sentiments:

  • We move from serving and singing in choir to solitude and silent sobbing, and then on to find a place where we belong.  We were very involved in our church. Now when I go,  I sit on the back row near a door so I can escape as most of the time, I just  have to leave.
  • We may think that in a community of believers, we support each other, but I haven’t heard from anyone from church in many months.
  • Church members said that they would come by in the beginning and check on me but no one has. I haven’t been there either since my husband died. It’s too painful and I know I’ll fall apart.  I haven’t lost my faith but I do feel abandoned sometimes.
  • I am legally BLIND and would so appreciate a ride to church if anyone lives near me.

James 1:27 says that true religion is to take care of widows in their distress. Widows tell us:

  • If you aren’t a widow you cannot not understand what a widow is going through.
  • We wish churches would have for widows only groups; not an organized grief therapy, not a dating service or gathering for Senior citizens, but a support group, made up just of widows and one for widowers just for widowers.   We have found that the greatest support and compassion is not from churches or a therapist but other widows.
  • We don’t necessarily know who the other widows are in our church. We’d love it if our church would just help us make a connection to other widows. Our self esteem is low and we don’t want anyone to reject us.  Even a shy person can be helped by a small group.  If the church would simply give us a place and time for widows to meet, we could take it from there.  “Small groups” where widows and widowers meet are volunteer driven; minimum time is required from pastoral leadership. (Widowers chimed in that they need a widowers group made up just of widowers.)


PRESERVING THEIR DIGNITY. WIDOWS WANT THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK One widow said she believes that everyone should always be given the opportunity to do something in return for receiving a “hand up”, because otherwise it is a “handout”.  Please let us be and encourage us to be involved, instead of making us feel that we are to be pitied and that our life has no meaning anymore. 2 Thessalonians  10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.[a2 Thessalonians 3:10-12English Standard Version (ESV)


Further, doing something in return allows them to feel they are a part of something and are needed.  When anyone, including a church member, does something to help her (such as working on her house, giving her groceries or looking at her car; saving her money) she should ALWAYS do something  in return, even if it is small. “People’s most basic need in life is relationship. People connected to other people thrive and grow, and those not connected wither and die.” (From the book “How People Grow”)

EMBRACING THE WIDOWED A church that embraces widows will find that widows, who may seem fragile, at first, have a whole lot to offer, including time and knowledge. The widowed can be a real help to the church if they are encouraged to be a part of something which gives them hope that their life isn’t over. The church helps them; they help the church.

Most of us want to help when we see someone in need but we often don’t know how.We tell the widow, “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” In shock, struggling with deep grief and overpowering waves of loneliness and confusion, a widow doesn’t know what it is that she needs….Friends stopped trying when she didn’t answer the phone, not realizing that she was in the middle of a crying jag and simply could not talk. Assuming that she didn’t want to hear from them. Feeling like they must be bothering her  they gave up trying to stay in touch.

A widow believes she must be strong so others aren’t forced to cope with her pain and sorrow, she puts on a big act to appear normal. She stays busy to fill the void convincing everyone with her wide smile that she is doing great.

HOW A WIDOW WANTS YOU TO SEE HER Bumping into them at the grocery store the widow forcing that fake smile, she declines offers of help by reassuring that she is doing just fine and keeps the pain inside.  She doesn’t want to be a burden or whine or complain or have anyone know that she still continues to grieve. She doesn’t want to appear weak.”Taking her at her word that she is doing well  and doesn’t need help, offers of help are few and far between.

THE REALITY: When she is alone she says she  is often sobbing in a heap on the floor. Every day is a struggle. Only another widow might realize the excruciating pain she is in. that leaves her unable to even clean her house or cook.


There are more than 100,000 widows in Oklahoma. 800,000 in the US become widowed each year, making widows the fastest growing demographic in the United States. Almost half the women over 65 years of age in the United States in 1997 were widows and nearly 70 percent lived alone. Does your church currently offer a widow support group made up of small groups (4-6 in a group) of widows?


KUDOS TO: Stand In The Gap Ministries  It is a Christian ministry, not a church. They offer their findings from extensive research on how to help the widowed  to Oklahoma churches in order to enhance what the church is already doing to help widows!  Over 25 churches in the Tulsa area alone, have received the Stand in the Gap information on Kindred Community for Widows. NOTE: There is contact info on the Stand in the Gap website allowing you to find out when their next informational meeting is.

Posted in Blessings, Inspiration, Military families, Neighbors, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Tulsa, volunteer, Volunteer work, Volunteering, volunteers, Widowed, Widower, Widows | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Looking for a job (or a job promotion)?

We have all heard that it is not what you know, but who you know. That means that
your connections are important to your success. Many companies identify potential
job candidates through referrals from their employees.

How do you get the opportunity to make those contacts and build strong relationships,
while allowing others the opportunity to see  your talents and  enthusiasm in action…. 
your initiative and willingness to get things done…..your
ability to work as a team player?  

In the past, people would attempt to bond by taking someone to lunch, drinking at bars or
playing golf. Some would try to make connections  at networking events, where the purpose is to meet as many people as possible. However, strong relationships are built slowly .

Posted in Baby Boomers, Career, Getting ahead, Inspiration, Jobs, Neighbors, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Things to see and do in Tulsa, Tulsa, volunteer, Volunteer work, Volunteering, volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Starving Widows in Oklahoma!


Nearly four million seniors are now malnourished in the United States. Oklahoma ranks as one of the ten states, in the nation, for senior hunger.What we eat affects our health.

Enough healthy food for adequate nutrition is important, in order to reduce the rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases and the accompanying skyrocketing healthcare costs.

The health of our older population is suffering, as many Oklahoma seniors skip meals, in order to purchase their medication.

While there is no minimum Social Security benefit amount (one could actually receive a Social Security check for as little as $1.00) one in three Oklahomans rely on Social Security, for their total income. Yet, at the death of a spouse one Social Security benefit goes away.

And, a person receiving the average Social Security benefit does not qualify for food assistance,  from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), even though they may not have enough to eat, after paying their Medicare insurance, rent, utilities, medicine co-pays. They are left alone to figure out how they can eat, if they pay their other bills.

Among the most pronounced increases for food insecurity were the widowed, one of the fastest growing demographic in the United States. (40% of women in Oklahoma, over the age of 65, are widowed and nearly 70% of them live alone.) The number of senior women living in extreme poverty jumped by 18 percent, from 2011 to 2012.

The grief of the widowed may be compounded by lack of money. The cost of the loved ones funeral, which in 2015 averages $12,000 or more can be devastating for the widowed when there is no life insurance or other income to help with the expense. Many have depleted their savings, due to the low interest rates they were receiving, which left them no choice but to use the principal.

Many factors, not just poverty, contribute to hunger, such as limited mobility, poor health, lack of transportation, living in a “food desert”, isolation, or dental problems, making it extremely uncomfortable to eat. (And, Medicare in Oklahoma does NOT cover dental.) Others, embarrassed and ashamed by their situation, do not want anyone to know.

  • Among the most pronounced increases for food insecurity….. Actually, the majority are white and have incomes above the poverty line.
  • It is true that  Medicare does not pay for dental care in Oklahoma. Nor, hearing aids or glasses.
  • Also true that many Oklahoma seniors skip meals in order to purchase the medication that needs to be taken with food, to assure the effectiveness. There are others who resort to using credit cards with high interest  or payday loans  with  Annual Percent Rates of 391% or higher. Oklahoma is No. 1 in Payday Loan Usage – NPR State Impact AND  If a credit card company does not receive the minimum payment by the due date they may add a late fee of $35 and the APR may be increased to the variable penalty of 29.99%!  This puts them further in debt.
 Read full story here, in order to get a better picture of this problem.
Also take a few moments to look at some of the comments below. If you do not see the comments when you scroll down just a little ways, then click:  HERE to allow the page to reload, then look again for comments.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Posted in Baby Boomers, Diabetes help, Elder Hunger, Food, Foods for stabilizing blood sugar, Foods for the heart, Healthy eating, Hunry Older folks, Making Changes, Memory, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Osteoporosis- Food to reduce risk of, Prescription Drugs, Senior Citizens, Senior Hunger, stress, Stroke-Food to help reduce risk, strokes, Tulsa, Widow, Widowed, Widower, Widows | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments