Starving Widows in Oklahoma!

HOW  COULD  OLDER PEOPLE, IN OKLAHOMA, BE STARVING WHEN THEY GET A SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK EVERY SINGLE MONTH?

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INFO SHARED WITH US:
  • 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.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WILL YOU SPEAK UP FOR THE WIDOWED?

 Purple heart Facebook: A Heart for the Widowed

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This entry was posted in A heart for the widowed, 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 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Starving Widows in Oklahoma!

  1. Anon says:

    We have starving elderly people who can’t get help. Yet, there are those who are not elderly who do get SNAP (food stamps) and SSI and use them for all kinds of things such as Michael Jordan limited edition shoes, tattoos, manicures etc.

    DHS can’t block some welfare funds from casinos, strip clubs, liquor and tobacco stores….
    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/state/dhs-can-t-block-some-welfare-funds-from-casinos-strip/article_e9255550-4923-57d9-8128-06a4261516e3.html

    GOOD GRIEF!!!

    • Tom says:

      Kansas Ends $25 Limit on ATM Withdrawals of Cash Benefits

      Kansas eliminated a $25-a-day limit on ATM withdrawals with cash assistance cards

      The cap was aimed at preventing recipients from converting their benefits to cash to get around limits on the assistance being used for alcohol, tobacco, gambling, tattoos, and sexually oriented materials, as well as entertainment or luxuries such as concerts instead of necessities.

      Cash assistance is not supposed to be used in nail salons or spas, on cruise ships or at tattoo or body-piercing parlors.

      But even some lawmakers who support a limit acknowledged that $25 was too low. Sen. Michael O’Donnell, a Wichita Republican supported a $60-per-day limit

      http://kac.org/media/in-the-news/abc-news-kansas-ends-25-limit-on-atm-withdrawals-of-cash-benefits/

  2. William says:

    The root of the problem for many struggling seniors is that their retirement security and savings have declined, and home values have plummeted, Weinstein told HuffPost. To sufficiently protect seniors, some say the best approach would be to protect Social Security. Weinstein says that cutting the annual increases in Social Security, which Obama proposed in April, could devastate seniors.”The poorest will become considerably more poor if that proposal does take effect.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/sotu-income-inequality_n_4682553.html

  3. Heather says:

    Agree with Mother Teresa…..

    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 ….eat…I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in. ~ Mother Teresa (See Matthew 25:35-40)

    and everyone should remember this:

    Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

  4. Tim says:

    “There is a lot of invisible poverty out there; people often take pride in how they look, so you have no idea”. “This is the Greatest Generation — the last thing they want to do is ask for help. The key is providing help in the most dignified manner possible.” (quote by Raechel Hammer, vice president of strategic development and compliance at the Raymond & Miriam Klein Jewish Community Center in the Northeast) Sounds like a good program: http://jewishexponent.com/community/2014/11/hungry-for-answers-leading-the-fight-against-food-insecurity

    • Mika says:

      Don’t toss it—eat it! The best way to minimize food waste—and stretch your budget—is to use everything. Next time you have beets, don’t toss those pretty stems. Put them to use in this simple recipe from chef Clayton Chapman of the Grey Plume in Omaha, Neb. It demonstrates root-to-leaf cooking at its best.
      Quick-Pickled Beet Stems http://parade.com/390722/parade/quick-pickled-beet-stems/

  5. Tamika says:

    Since this is about older people check out this artist who illustrates with a speed-painting the entire life of a woman, from life to death.It really makes you think about how quickly each of us will be old (and we might be one who is hungry). Each of us should try to do something to help now. May God richly bless those who are willing to step forward and try to make a difference. http://justsomething.co/child-to-old-woman-painting/

  6. Dave says:

    http://www.stonesouptulsa.org/ states:

    Everyone deserves the basic right to healthy, whole food

    Food insecurity is on the rise in Tulsa. According to the Food Research and Action Center, Tulsa is among the top 20 statistical areas for food hardship, and ranked as eighth among cities with the highest rates of difficulty accessing affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Every day, kids go to school hungry, obesity rates skyrocket, and heart disease looms ever larger.

    Over 100 food pantries and soup kitchens work diligently to fight hunger in the city of Tulsa. While these agencies meet a life-threatening, immediate need, a new response is needed to address some of the gaps within the traditional food assistance system.

    The response from Tulsa’s Table grows from the understanding that all community members can become active participants in the journey from seed to table, and that empowered and educated people become self-sustaining, healthy citizens.

    Tulsa’s Table – A community cafe with food justice in mind

    • Will D. says:

      The cafe is open the third Tuesday of every month 11:30 to 1:00 at East Side Christian Church 1438 S Indianapolis Ave. (That is close to Harvard.) And there are hopes to create more “pop-up” cafes in the future.

      With help from community partners such as Life Senior Services, East Side Christian Church, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Tulsa Job Corps, NEATS, Simple Faith Ministries, and Street School, SoupStone is now a blossoming nonprofit helping to combat food injustice in Tulsa through a pay-what-you-can cafe and community garden.

      • Dana says:

        Tulsa’s Table a once a month community cafe provides diners with the opportunity to learn from each other. As a pay-what ou can community cafe, Tulsa’s Table suggests a donation of $10 per meal, but no diner is ever turned away because they can’t pay. They don’t have to pay for their meal. If they can’t we ask if they’d like to volunteer their time and talent instead.

    • Will D. says:

      The idea behind the garden is education. We want to teach people how to garden, so they can supplement their diet. We do this by teaching them how to grow their own food, as well as what to do with the food they grow.

  7. Carol says:

    Good story in the Tulsa World about it:
    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/food-justice-focus-of-stonesoup-nonprofit-initiative/article_c00b25ef-0397-5cf5-97b5-6f2cc1cbb1d0.html

    Restaurants give way too big of portions. We eat it all and then wonder why we are all getting so fat. I understand that big portions makes money for restaurants. However, why not offer us the choice of still charging for the meal but cut down my portion to a reasonable serving size and donate the excess to the local food bank? (Seriously. I usually end up taking 1/2 of it home and it ends up at the back of the fridge, never eaten.) It would be a win/win/win.

    1.) I enjoy my meal without being stuffed and feel good for helping someone else.
    2.) The restaurant still makes money and looks good donating food and maybe they can take a write off.
    3.) Most importantly it feeds someone who is hungry.

  8. Alice says:

    It would be nice to let widows/widowers (and other seniors) feel they are giving back (and getting a hand-up) so they don’t feel like they are taking a hand out. Good for Soupstone or TulsaTable.

    It would be nice to have a place with round tables so people can visit (you can’t do that with long tables where people can’t see each other). The round tables would be like they have at at Village Inn, I think it is.

    What a way to build community!
    People who have extra’s in their gardens bring what they have to share. Imagine the huge pot of soup you could make.

    P.S. I remember reading about a restaurant that kept one table open for people dining alone. Everyone knew that is what it was and some loved to eat there as they couldn’t wait to go to that table to meet people of all ages and backgrounds and eat with them. Sorta reminds me of what SoupStone is doing.

    • Will D. says:

      Soupstone is almost entirely operated by volunteers, and there are many ways that Seniors can help. The cafe is always looking for assistance by serving. Low income older adults is a population that experiences food insecurity. They are alsoa population that is looking for a meaning in their life. SoupStones community Garden, which is run by volunteers, would welcome senior adults who are Mater Gardeners or simply lifetime gardening enthusiasts.

      If you have had a successful gardening year and you would like to donate tomatoes, squash or other garden edibles consider donating your extras to Stone Soup. By August personal gardens are often producing more than we can eat, so in an effort to reduce food waste, we invite you to donate these extra vegetables to our cafe.

      For more info about StoneSoup, Tulsa’s Table, the community garden or to volunteer your time, talents or produce, call 918 640-8345 http://www.tulsatable.org

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  11. Dawn says:

    is a short but good video about what they are doing for widows in Duncan Oklahoma

  12. Mildred C. says:

    Many widows experience financial decline. Grief may be compounded by lack of money if there was no life insurance, interest on savings is so low they are living off principal which is almost depleted, they have no job. Many don’t have a pension. (With his death my Social Security income was greatly reduced when SS changed to one income, (People who haven’t a clue how SS works gossip that I have plenty of money since they claim that I am now getting his social security in addition to mine, which is not even possible.)

  13. Elaine says:

    An elderly woman in the grocery checkout line had to put back several items. Learning that this was quite common and that sometimes the cashier would pay the difference out of her own pocket, Rebecca Campbell;s husband Steve bought a 20 dollar gift card for the cashier to keep on hand for customers that came up short. He checks on the card’s balance purchasing a new one when funds run out.
    April 2015 Guideposts magazine

  14. nunyourbusness says:

    go to all the food bank and the churchs and get all you can. tell them you need it for your kids and grankids they don’t know you been to others don’t check just smile and they smile back and load up your sacks and car with grocries. get yoru snap card and get food and you can sell them for money

  15. Mika says:

    locallygrown.net the world’s first online farmers market fresh food with more than 100 communities nationwide.

    At Dickinson College in Carlisle, students grow organic vegetables and raise free-range livestock on the 50-acre USDA,-certified organic farm. the food they raise is served in the dining hall, sold at a local farmers market and donated to a community food bank.

  16. Bert says:

    And look what is thrown at them if they go to a food bank! YUK! Click on this link:

  17. Kiley says:

    Tens of thousands of Oklahoma’s helpless older citizens routinely are tortured, beaten, sexually assaulted, starved, neglected and exploited.

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/abuse-of-the-elderly-thousands-tourtures-beaten-starved-neglected/article_ffc73d99-46cd-508b-bfbb-e9507d824a92.html

  18. Kiley says:

    Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Enid and North Central Oklahoma wants to help eliminate senior hunger and transportation issues, by distributing food boxes to low-income seniors to help improve their diets with nutritious UDSA commodity foods, including nonfat dairy, milk, juice, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, peanut butter, dry beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables.

    RSVP, the only organization that delivers food boxes in northwest Oklahoma is a self-sponsored nonprofit organization, formed in 1978 to serve the elderly and other residents in need of assistance in the Enid area has grown to serve Grant, Garfield, Noble, Alfalfa and Major counties.

    Last year, more than 1,090 RSVP volunteers provided almost 200,000 volunteer hours, playing an important role in assisting vulnerable, low-income and homebound seniors, and others in need.

    We are helping those with physical limitations, no transportation and who are on a fixed income and delivering food right to their door,” she said. “The seniors we are helping have an average income of $733 a month. Trying paying your bills and medical needs and then on top of that, buy food.”

    Volunteers drive throughout the five service counties to deliver the food boxes, and RSVP reimburses the volunteers 57 cents per mile in an effort to alleviate wear and tear on vehicles and help fixed-income senior volunteers.

    To ensure that they are able to fully extend these commodities to low-income seniors who live in rural areas, who do not have frequent access to food or transportation and who have no voice. the organization is “in desperate need of additional funding. $10,000 would assist RSVP volunteers and the recipients of the volunteers’ efforts, which includes paying mileage for 1,235 miles per month for a one-year period as they have 267 current recipients and up to 900 recipients to deliver to.

    RSVP 580-233-5914,
    http://www.rsvpenid.org and click “donate,” or submit donations to RSVP, 602 S. Van Buren, Enid, Ok, 73703.

    To donate food, contact Susan at the Senior Social Center at 580-237-1447.

    http://www.enidnews.com/news/organizations-gather-to-help-low-income-seniors/article_6d0a9ad0-db6a-5a70-b462-78ab35b0c3bc.html

  19. Kiley says:

    “I live off of a $650 (Social Security) disability check each month, and receive $20 worth of food stamps,” shared a client..
    Gage Record December 10, 2015

  20. Kiley says:

    Grocery chains leave food deserts barren

    Proximity to a supermarket can make a big difference in what people eat, especially if they don’t drive, although other factors such as food culture also play a role.

    A lack of access to healthy foods contributes to health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a neighborhood a food desert if at least a fifth of the residents live in poverty and a third live more than a mile from a supermarket in urban areas, or more than 10 miles in rural areas, where residents are more likely to have cars.

    The Partnership for a Healthier America, which promotes good nutrition and exercise in its anti-obesity mission, considers improving access to fresh food a key part of the solution. But the AP’s research demonstrates that major grocers overwhelmingly avoid America’s food deserts
    instead of trying to turn a profit in high-poverty areas.

    In 2011 a group of major food retailers promised to open or expand 1,500 grocery or convenience stores in and around neighborhoods that have no supermarkets by 2016.

    While dollar stores are popping up everywhere in the food deserts, it doesn’t help much if they don’t give customers the opportunity to buy fresh produce.

    Take away convenience stores and “dollar stores,” which generally don’t sell fresh fruits, vegetables or meat, and barely more than 250 of the new supermarkets were in so-called food deserts, or neighborhoods without stores that offer fresh produce and meats.

    Some of the dollar store chains have started dipping their toes into selling fresh produce. Dollar General has opened up about 150 Dollar General Market stores that sell fresh vegetables, fruit and meat, though that format makes up only 1 percent of the chain’s 12,000-plus stores.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/8bfc99c7c99646008acf25e674e378cf/grocery-chains-leave-food-deserts-barren-ap-analysis-finds

  21. Nova says:

    If one cannot get proper nutrition they become malnourished! Reasons: lack of money, lack of companionship to eat with,lack of transportation to get there making crap from a convenience store easier to get. Chips and a soda will not give you the proper vitamins your body MUST have. The nasty stuff Walmart donates to food pantries (processed foods- i.e. junk from the bakery full of sugar and transfats or things with MSG– anything in a package is PROCESSED!) They get the writeoffs and people get malnutrition.

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