Assemblymember Chris Ward, representative of the 78th district, visited one of our senior food distributions at Westminster Manor in downtown San Diego over the holiday season, where he delivered 40-pound food boxes to seniors on the Food Bank’s Senior
Food Program, which serves seniors living at or near the poverty level.
During the distribution, a senior opened her door and smiled, posing for a photo with Assemblymember Ward as her dog wagged its tail at the Food Bank crew. Unfortunately, she had to take a call right before we snapped a photo. “Please go ahead,” Ward said, and we left her home.
Ward also had the chance to visit the top floor cafeteria, where a resident practiced piano in front of a beautiful view of the harbor. When asked why he decided to come to the distribution, Ward responded, “I really appreciate the difficult and important work that the Food Bank does. I wanted to come out and support a food distribution in our community.”
The Senior Food Program provides monthly supplemental food packages to over 15,000 seniors per month. The packages, based on the nutritional needs of older Americans, include a range of nonperishable food items, a frozen protein, and a block of cheese.
According to the Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties, food insecure seniors are at a higher risk for lengthened hospital stays, readmission, and death compared to food secure seniors. More alarmingly, more than 50 percent of seniors admitted to the hospital are malnourished or at risk for malnourishment.
Consuming fewer nutrients and calories reduces the iron and protein intake of seniors, which is crucial to their health and helps ward off many issues as they age. According to the San Diego Hunger Coalition, 40 percent of seniors in San Diego struggle to make ends meet, and one in ten seniors is food insecure. The Senior Food Program provides comfort and reduces economic stress by fulfilling one need, making sure low-income people over 60 do not have to choose between food, medicine, and rent.
California’s 78th district, which Assemblymember Ward represents, includes San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Imperial Beach, and Coronado, making Ward’s voice integral to ensuring countywide programs continue to receive critical support. The Food Bank’s Vice President of Operations, Vanessa Ruiz, said “It was an honor to tour with Assemblymember Ward at Westminster Manor, one of 65 plus Senior Food Distribution sites we operate throughout San Diego County. Nearly 15,000 seniors 60 and older receive food from the Senior Food Program each month, making this program essential for many low-
income seniors. It was great to have Assemblymember Ward’s help at the food distribution just in time for the holidays.”
Thank you, Assemblymember Ward, for participating in the distribution and getting to know some of the wonderful seniors who receive nutritional support because of this critical program!
For more information on the Senior Food Program, please visit sandiegofoodbank.org/programs/senior-food-program/. If you would like to volunteer with the Food Bank, please visit sandiegofoodbank.org/volunteer/. If you would like to advocate for the hungry by influencing legislation and educating the community, please visit sandiegofoodbank.org/about/advocacy/.