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AARP Food Drive Fights Hunger Among D.C.'s Elderly

Dorothy Rowley - WI Staff Writer | 10/26/2011, 1:10 p.m.

"It's possible that we could run the program, as we have a distribution system and a warehouse," said Crosland.

While it's been hard to localize data on how many of D.C.'s seniors go to bed hungry, Alexandra Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, said the city's hungry data is not necessarily in sync with its poverty rate.

Ashbrook said, however, one of the programs her organization works with is the food stamp initiative, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNP).

"Part of our effort is working to make sure D.C.'s senior residents know about food stamps and to debunk some of the myths [where] a lot of them think that they only qualify for the minimum benefits," Ashbrook said.

"[The truth is that] in most cases, they're going to qualify for a higher benefit than just a few dollars worth of stamps each month."

Ashbrook further noted that sometimes pride can be a deterrent for seniors applying for food stamps.

"They're embarrassed, so we try to remind them that as former workers, they have put money into the system and that they are entitled to SNP benefits," Ashbrook said. "The food stamps also serve as a health intervention by improving nutrition, and if a senior applies for them they should so do with the confidence that they are not taking money away from a young family because anyone who is eligible can apply and get them."

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