Some Seniors in Kent County Strapped for Cash, Eat Pet Food - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Some Seniors in Kent County Strapped for Cash, Eat Pet Food to Save Money

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FREDERICA, Del.- The Frederica Senior Center is a place many seniors like Johanna Doak come for activities, camaraderie and food.

Food is something Doak and others say many seniors cannot afford. She said friends have even tried to save money by eating pet food.   

"I'm begging the United States to help us. Help us seniors. It's sad when you see them eating cat food and dog food," Doak said.

Many seniors are on a limited income which means they do not have enough money for food. Some would even spend one dollar on three cans of dog food instead of one can of tuna.
    
Renee Hoffman, executive director of the Frederica Senior Center, said she was alerted to this happening when someone asked her for help.

"No elderly person should have to eat pet food. If you're doing that please come to me so that I can help so that you don't have to do that," said Hoffman.

According to Hoffman, many seniors at the center receive an average monthly income of about $1,500. They have to pay for things like rent, utilities, supplemental insurance, prescriptions and other bills that total an average about $1,400 They're left with $85 a month.

"No one could eat off $85 a month. When they're not getting proper nutrition their health deteriorates, and when their health deteriorates, they need more prescriptions that they can't afford to get," said Hoffman.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 9 percent of people age 65 and older in Delaware are living in poverty. That's equal to 12,300 seniors. That number jumps to 16 percent, or 85,700, for those ages 18 to 64.

Seniors like Myra Jones said they hope others in the community help look out for them.

"Renee is always putting up something here for us to bring in to help the ones that can't afford to buy the food that they should have. Or she has meals here where they can come in to get good meals," said Jones.

Doak wants to send this plea to the government.

"It makes me mad with this government. It's sad. They need to help us to make it easier. They say that these are our golden years. Well, I want to let everyone out there know these aren't golden years," said Doak.

Hoffman says the center serves about 60 meals per day, or about 1,250 per month. The center is only open Monday through Friday.

Anyone wishing to donate food to the Frederica Senior Center can call (302) 335-4555 or drop off goods at 216 Market St  Frederica, DE 19946

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