Drew University Study Measures Food Insecurity Among Morris County Seniors
In partnership with the Interfaith Food Pantry & Resource Center (IFPRC) and the County of Morris, Division of Aging, Disabilities and Community Programming, a team of students from Drew University recently concluded a study on senior hunger and food insecurity in Morris County. Under the supervision of Professor Patrick McGuinn, Ph.D., students studying Social Policy and Inequality visited the County’s 14 Senior Nutrition Centers to conduct surveys designed to identify and analyze hunger and food insecurity among the seniors visiting those sites.
Of the 211 senior participants surveyed, 16% had indicated they had either run out of food or had been concerned about running out of food before receiving more money. 22% had indicated they had skipped a meal or ate less in order to save money.
“The students were surprised to discover how many seniors lacked access to a regular source of nutritious food and the varied reasons for their food insecurity”, said McGuinn. “In addition to economic factors, many cited transportation issues, distance to grocers, and a lack of awareness about resources available to them such as SNAP or local food pantries. It was an eye opener to see the challenges many of our seniors face; even something as simple as the inability to carry their groceries can be a barrier to obtaining the food they need.”
The data collected by McGuinn’s class was supplemented with a demographic analysis of economic security among older adults by Drew’s Advanced Geographic Information Systems under Professor Lisa Jordan. The students created a spatial analysis to map areas of the county that had high rates of economic insecurity based on Census, ALICE1 and Elder Index2 data.
The data indicates that more than 35,000 seniors, or 43% are living below the Elder Index, with the highest rates in Parsippany, Dover, Morristown, Montville, Florham Park, Morris Township, Madison, Mt. Olive, Randolph and Pequannock.
“This information is invaluable to us as we strategically direct our efforts to reach those that are aging in place and lack access to the food resources they need”, said Carolyn Lake, Executive Director of the IFPRC. “We have a number of Mobile programs designed to bring food and services to our seniors such as home delivery, our Senior Food Box program, and a supplementary program for Meals-on-Wheels recipients that we run in partnership with the County of Morris, Division of Aging. The information gleaned from these reports will help us dig deeper to evaluate the needs of each community and close the food security gaps where they exist.”
Our drop off hours are: Mon. –Thurs. 9:30 am –4:30 pm. Friday by arrangement.
(If you have flexibility, between 9:30 and 12:00 is the best time so we have more time to get the produce ready for distribution sessions.)
Some suggestions for transporting your produce to us:
•There is nothing like fresh garden produce –but remember if it is “past its prime”–is severely bruised, showing significant signs of decay, or is moldy and you would not eat it –our clients wouldn’t either. Take it to the compost pile –not the Pantry!
•Bring produce in clean, dry containers or bags. Separate different types of produce.
• If vegetables are fragile –such as ripe tomatoes –try to transport them so they are not stacked too much. We’ve discovered that a few split tomatoes can make a mess and attract bugs!
• Shake off loose dirt.
• If the vegetables or herbs you bring are less familiar,either label them or make sure you tell the warehouse worker at the Pantry who helps you what they are.
• Label any hot peppers.
• If you are storing harvested produce in your refrigerator before you bring it to us, please store it in a plastic bag on the top shelf of a clean refrigerator away from raw meat.
If you have any questions, contact Katy Galton, Nutrition Educator at 973 538 8049 ext. 216 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Garden Manager Tess Clarkin.
Get Involved Today!
Join the IFP’s Young Professional Council
The goal of the IFP’s Young Professionals Council is to build future leaders by engaging aspiring, community-minded business persons. Members act as ambassadors for IFP and regularly advance the mission by participating in quarterly meetings, networking events, social outings, meaningful volunteer opportunities and fundraising.
Whether its hosting a food drive through your place of work, volunteering at an event, or creating a fundraiser, the IFP Young Council is an integral part of IFP’s success.
To apply please fill out the application and email it to email@example.com.
Register. Vote. Be Heard.
The United Way has joined forces with National Voter Registration Day to help get citizens registered to vote. They are committed to strengthening our community by making sure local citizens are exercising their right to vote!
Make sure to visit Election Central, a one-stop resource where you can:
- Download and fill out the form you need to get registered,
- Tell those running for office about the important policy issues that affect hardworking ALICE families who struggle to afford the basics,
- Find your polling place and basic voting information.
ADVOCATE- United To Vote Election Central. Register. Vote. Be Heard. This is your one-stop resource to: Get registered to vote. Tell the candidates that you care about the issues that affect ALICE and all of us.
While kids of all ages are winding down the school year, we are gearing up to get them ready for the next school year with the launch of our 2018 “We’ve Got Your Back” backpack and school supply program. Last year, with your help, we distributed more than 600 backpacks and needed supplies supplies to kids ranging in age from pre-Kindergarten through High School.
Current IFP Clients will be able to enroll in the program beginning June 1, and we will be distributing the supplies on August 9th so we can accomodate all the requests before school starts. Our goal is to have most of our supplies in by late July. Any help is appreciated. If your company, house of worship, youth group, civic group or club can help with a collection, please contact our office at 973-538-8049. Below is a list of most needed items, or you can simply download and customize this 2018 Flyer to distribute or post:
Backpacks (assorted sizes)*
Filler Paper (college and wide ruled)*
Erasers (large pink)
Crayons (24 pk)
Colored Pencils (12 pk)*
*Most needed items
Join us on Tuesday, September 29th at the Morristown United Methodist Church, 50 South Park Place for a special screening of “Hunger Hits Home”, a film produced by the Food Network and Share Our Strength that examines the causes, complications and misconceptions about childhood hunger in the United States today. A brief panel discussion that will feature our own Exeuctive Director, Rosemary Gilmartin, as well as representatives from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the Community Soup Kitchen, and Table of Hope will take place following the film.
All are invited to participate. Please register in advance as capacity is limited. For details and registration, click here. You can also help spread the word by downloading this flyer. Thanks – we hope to see you there!
IFP recently partnered with Drew University students under the direction of Professor Patrick McGuinn, who recently joined our Board of Trustees, to conduct an in-depth study about the issue of local hunger and how it is currently being viewed and addressed by the public and private sectors.
“The students’ findings showed that political leaders in Morris County were often unaware that hunger affected local populations, that agencies did not always connect with those in need and that transportation, language barriers and limited hours of operation frequently impede access to available services.
“We found that, often, hunger is ignored and is not seen as a dramatic problem in society, especially in wealthy communities. Unfortunately, inequality in food access exists across almost every state, even in states with higher average incomes like New Jersey,” said Saif Yasin C’17, a student in the course.”
Additional classes that will be offered this fall will help guide our local advocacy efforts in partnership with the university and ultimately lead to more opportunities for our supporters to get involved in shaping social policy. Visit our Learn About Hunger page and check back often to stay up-to-date with current issues.