Free Food Now Available for Low Income Seniors

By Lura Jackson

 

If you are over 60 years old with low income, you may be eligible to be a part of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program [CSFP], now offered by the Eastern Agency on Aging. For those who qualify, the program provides individuals or households with thirty pounds of nutritional, non-perishable foods and a block of cheese once a month.

According to a recently released statement of guidelines issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, seniors who wish to participate in CSFP must meet 130% of the federal guidelines for poverty. For seniors that live alone, that amounts to $1,307 a month or $15,678 a year. For those with a companion, the allowable amount is $1,760 a month. The allowable amount increases by $453 a month for every person in the household after that.

The number of seniors in Maine that are able to qualify for CSFP increased dramatically in 2017 due to additional federal support of the program. Last year, the Eastern Agency on Aging assisted about 864 seniors with the program; this year, it can assist 4,364. The agency is based in Bangor and serves the four counties around it, including Washington County. Statewide, the CSFP program covered 3,229 people in 2016, demonstrating exactly how much more support the program now has.

The Eastern Agency on Aging also operates the Calais Community Cafe, held on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Palmer Lane estates at noon (contact at 454-2215) and Meals on Wheels. 

To reach the Eastern Agency on Aging and fill out an application to receive free food once a month – to be picked up at a designated nearby location by you or a friend at your request – call 1-800-432-7812. Applications can be filled out completely over the phone.