More than 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States and people are living longer. In 1900, only 100,000 people in America lived to be over 85 years. Today that number has grown to over 6 million and nearly 10percent of older people live in poverty in the USA.
In Immokalee, 6 percent of the population is 55 yrs old or older and another 6 percent are over 70 years of age. Several organizations try to help meet the needs of older people. There are 3 Senior independent living facilities in Immokalee: Summer Glen, Bromelia Place, and Cypress Run. The Roberts Center provides activities and a meal program for seniors. Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice has provided food bags, clothing, and a daily meal in the Soup Kitchen for people in need, including the elderly for almost 40 years. Now, Catholic Charities is expanding its programs for the elderly.
The Mission of Guadalupe Social Services, Catholic Charities, is to help meet the unmet needs of the most vulnerable members of the Immokalee community. Over the years, it is becoming more apparent that one group often slips through the cracks for obtaining help, and that is the elderly population. Catholic Charities is expanding its food pantry to include Pantry on Wheels. The Pantry on Wheels van makes deliveries to the three elderly housing complexes monthly and in June, will begin deliveries of food to home-bound adults over the age of 80yrs.
Senior hunger and nutrition are significant issues in the United States with over 10 million older Americans at risk of hunger and about 10 percent of adults experiencing malnutrition. Catholic Charities is providing food bags to the elderly that have food appropriate for this age group with low sodium and low sugar foods, plus meat, fruit, and vegetables.