Food and Hope for Older Americans

How a Texas Food Bank Cares for Senior Citizens Like Sonny

May 11, 2017
by Lauren Pfeifer

In the U.S. today, more than 5 million seniors age 60 and older face hunger. Seniors face a number of unique challenges that put them at greater risk of hunger. These include living on a fixed income while costs of living rise and mobility and medical issues. Seniors can struggle to find transportation to access food, or, without enough money to get by, are forced to make tough decisions between buying food and medicine.

Sonny is one of the millions of seniors Feeding America serves who face hunger. His story is a powerful reminder of the importance of reaching seniors in need, and the difference we can make in their lives.

Sonny has always been known in the Beeville, Texas, community as a handyman and could fix just about anything. However when the air conditioning company he worked for moved to Corpus Christi, a year ago, Sonny was laid off. He’s been looking for work tirelessly ever since then, but job openings are scarce. After a year of frustration, Sonny gave up and decided to retire and apply for Social Security at the age of 77.

This past year has been a tough one for Sonny. With no income, he had to sell his personal belongings, including his stove and other appliances, just to put food on his table and to buy some of the prescriptions he desperately needs. As health problems come with age, Sonny suffers from diabetes and knee problems. Dealing with the stresses of the year have also caused severe anxiety and depression. “I don’t know how many medications that I take,” he admits. Unfortunately, his out-of-pocket expenses for medicine have gotten so high that he’s stopped taking most of his pills. Each month, he picks the medications that he’s desperate for the most and that he can afford.

After talking to a local church in Beeville, Sonny found out about The Beeville Vineyard, a Food Bank of Corpus Christi partner agency. At The Beeville Vineyard, he is able to get a box of food five times a year. “It helps quite a bit!” Sonny says. He’s especially grateful when he gets fresh produce and other healthy staples that won’t cause his diabetes to get out of control.

As someone who used to have good credit and even used to make donations to the Food Bank of Corpus Christi, it’s hard for Sonny to be on the receiving end now. Being a senior citizen, Sonny knows how important it is for organizations like the Vineyard to exist for people like him. “It would be bad (without it). People would starve. I don’t know what we would do,” Sonny exclaims. The Food Bank of Corpus Christi is so thankful to our supporters and friends. Because of you, Sonny has hope. “Thank you. I appreciate you helping people when they’re down,” he says, truly grateful for your help.

*Lauren Pfeifer is the agency relations coordinator at Food Bank of Corpus Christi.