Often with fixed incomes and limited resources, many seniors find themselves unable to keep a stocked kitchen. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides USDA-donated food to low-income seniors through monthly CSFP/senior boxes.
The program works to improve the health of elderly people of at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA commodity foods.
Philabundance packs and distributes boxes to strategically chosen locations throughout Delaware County, ensuring that more seniors have access to shelf-stable foods to last throughout the month.
“A senior would register at a particular location and they would know what day they will be able to pick up their box,” said Kelly Hile, director of direct services of Philabundance. “After they receive that information seniors are then able to pick up their boxes on that same day every month. Even though there are various locations throughout Delaware County, our hope is that everyone will be able to find a location that is closest to them. We are doing our best to get this information out to them as well as make sure this process is easy for them as possible.”
Boxes for the program contain approximately 30 lbs of canned and boxed food including vegetables, fruit, juice, pasta, milk, cereal, canned meat and a non-meat protein. Each box is also accompanied by fresh cheese. A nutritional newsletter containing recipes and information is included in each box.
“A certain amount of these boxes have been designated specifically for Delaware County,” Hile said. “We just want seniors to be aware that a program like this exists. This program also does not prevent seniors from getting other benefits, making this program very beneficial for them.”
Philabundance is able to provide more than 9,100 CSFP/senior food boxes each month to eligible seniors. Philabundance partners with the Share Food program of Pennsylvania to build monthly CSFP/senior boxes.
“Over the last year, Philabundance has seen a 26 percent increase in need, and 16 percent of those we serve are senior citizens,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “Seniors on fixed incomes are one of our most vulnerable populations, and CSFP/senior boxes are great resources to help them put food on their table and get the nutritious food they often need.”
In order for residents to qualify for the program, participants must be 60 years or older, receive an income that is at or below 130 percent of the poverty line, and be a resident of Pennsylvania. On an annual basis, seniors are required to show proof of their income and of residency.
For more information on the program, call (800) 319-3663 or visit philabundance.org.