Oklahoma seniors have worked hard to build this state. They have spent their lives working, raising families and developing our communities. Now, with their earning years behind them, many seniors like Laura need our help to make sure they have their basic needs met.
Senior Servings is a program of the Food Bank that provides nutritious food to seniors who are 60 years and older and at-risk of hunger. In partnership with low-income senior housing complexes, senior centers and congregate meal sites, the program provides a level of independence and dignity for clients.
Cornerstone Village posts a monthly calendar of activities and significant dates for the residents. Twice each month in bold font nearly twice the size as other events are the words, “Food Bank.” Those words indicate the importance of the of Senior Servings food delivery to the residents.
One resident of Cornerstone is Laura. Economic challenges are not new to her. Her first husband abandoned her when she was pregnant with her daughter. As a result, she found herself working extremely long hours. Before her full-time job started each day, she would work at a grocery store for an hour, then off to her job at a local plant nursery. After work, it was a quick bite of dinner and back to the grocery store. Rounding out most evenings, Laura would work until 2:00 a.m. at an auction house. Finally, without a car, she would take the walk home.
Laura’s parents helped with her daughter while she worked. “When you are raising a child you do what you gotta to do. You have to make ends meet.”
The 20-hour work days eventually ended and the full-time nursery job continued. The general work at the nursery was pleasing to Laura, she did virtually every job on the lot, everyone did, including the owners. She can still rattle off the shrubs, plants, and trees they sold.
After her husband of 20 years died, Laura moved for a few months to care for her sister who couldn’t use her arms following a surgery. During the time away at her sister’s, the washing machine in her own mobile home broke, leaking water and ruining the floors. With repair bills more than she could afford, her daughter helped find housing at Cornerstone Village. Laura is thrilled to live there. “The people here are one big happy family.”
Laura is currently on a fixed social security income. She receives some SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, but it isn’t very much. Food from SNAP along with the provisions, she receives from Senior Servings helps Laura get by each month. “Even with the SNAP benefits you’re just barely making ends meet. The Food Bank really helps. It gives us the extra we need when we don’t have enough food and we don’t have the money to go buy it. The Food Bank really helps us get through to the end of the month. Without it I wouldn’t be able to buy anything extra. I have medical bills and need food for my dog.”
Every Tuesday night Laura leads a bible study group and as a result, the residents are comfortable with her. They come to her to discuss their problems knowing Laura will keep their concerns in confidence. She listens carefully and often gives advice.
Senior Servings provides nutritious food that enables Laura to thrive. “The food is excellent, it is food we need: carrots, onions, potatoes, fruit, milk and bread. The milk is just heavenly to have. This food is so helpful. My SNAP benefits don’t come close to stretching until the end of the month. People who give to the Food Bank are a blessing to us and we give thanks where thanks are needed. Everybody who receives the food is grateful. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to make it month to month. Thank you so much.”
For more information on Senior Servings contact Kelsey Ashwood at 918-936-4510.