By Corey Johnson
The epidemic of supermarket closures across New York City has raised new awareness of the difficulty many New Yorkers face in accessing affordable, healthy food. For the supermarkets that do remain, prices are rising. Among those hardest hit by these trends are our seniors.
Every effort must be made to ensure that every need of our seniors is met. They built our city and country into what it is today, and now it is our responsibility to honor their contributions. To ensure that the needs of seniors are being met, a number of food programs exist. These programs vary depending on the needs of individuals, and all the programs provide access to healthy and nutritious food for our seniors.
If you can benefit from the below programs, I urge you to apply. Spread the word to your neighbors and friends. If you would like assistance in applying for these programs, please feel free to call my office at (212) 546-7757.
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)
SNAP is the cornerstone of food assistance programs in the United States. It provides vouchers to buy groceries at a wide range of eligible stores and farmers markets. 1.8 million New Yorkers receive assistance from this program. Eligibility to receive SNAP benefits is based on household size and income. Call the NYC Human Re-sources Administration at (718) 557-1399 to request an application.
This program delivers hot meals to the elderly, disabled and homebound. Eligible seniors must be at least 60 years of age and have a chronic physical or mental disability. For more information you may contact Citymeals-on-Wheels at (212) 687-1234.
FRESH FOOD FOR SENIORS
This program, which my office administers in partnership with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, provides regionally grown, seasonal vegetables and fruits for only $8 a bag. Produce is supplied in pre-selected bags, and varies depending on the season. Participants can pick up their bags every two weeks at local senior centers or my district office, and the program takes place throughout the summer and fall.
Anyone can participate; there are no age or income requirements. To enroll in this program call my office at (212) 564-7757 or visit www.coreyjohnson.nyc.
Our senior centers offer a wealth of resources that range from cultural and social events to nutritional programs. In Greenwich Village, Greenwich House operates three centers, providing hot breakfast and/ or lunch Monday through Friday (and on weekends in some locations):
Center on the Square Senior Center is located at 20 Washington Square North, phone is 212-777-3555 . Lunch is between 11:45am and 1:30pm.
Judith C. White Senior Center is located at 27 Barrow Street between W. 4th Street and 7th Avenue. For more information please call (212) 242-4140 Ext. 260. Breakfast is at 9:00 am; lunch is at 12:00pm. Our Lady of Pompeii Senior Center is located at 25 Carmine Street between Bedford Street and Bleecker Street. For more information please call (212) 242-4140. Lunch is between 12:30pm and 1:30pm.
GOD’S LOVE WE DELIVER
This is a free program that brings meals to the homes of those living with cancer, HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses. The program adheres to food restrictions and is available daily. For more information, call the God’s Love We Deliver Client Services Department at (212) 294-8102.
Mobility issues often present a significant barrier to food access. Access-A-Ride (AAR) is a door-to-door paratransit service for those who are unable to use the subway or bus systems to go to the grocery store. The one-way fare is the same as the mass transit system. Rides are available 24/7, including holidays. For eligibility and more information please call (877) 337-2017.
Health Bucks was developed by the New York City Health Department and will launch July 1, 2016, and is available to those using EBT/SNAP benefits. When purchasing $5 of produce using EBT/ SNAP, you will receive Health Bucks worth $2 to purchase additional food at the NYC farmers’ markets.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Foodbox program allows customers to purchase a bag of seasonal and local vegetables and fruits using EBT/SNAP, cash, credit, or debit. You may participate by visiting one of the distribution sites during delivery hours. For more information about the Fresh Foodbox Program, call (212) 788-7900.