In tough economic times, a Columbia County nonprofit is working to ensure seniors don't go without groceries.
Columbia County Community Connections signed on recently to distribute food through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a United States Department of Agriculture food and nutrition service program.
"It is a great service," said Julie Miller, Community Connections executive director. "We know there are a lot of people out there having trouble stretching that food dollar, and this can help fill the gap."
Community Connections receives 60 boxes of nonperishable foods each month for area seniors who qualify.
Each box contains canned fruits, vegetables and meats, fruit juice, dry beans and grains, including pasta, rice and oats, ready-to-eat cereals, and dairy products such as cheese and evaporated and dry milk.
"It is a substantial amount of food," Miller said.
The program also serves infant, children, pregnant and post-partum women. But the primary target is seniors since the Women, Infants and Children supplemental food program also serves the same needs for pregnant women and children.
To qualify, seniors must live in Columbia County and earn less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, a person living alone must earn less than $14,079 annually to qualify. A two-person household must make less than $18,941 and a three-person household can't earn more than $23,803.
"We really do need to get the word out," Miller said. "We've got to expand it. We can take plenty of room for expansion."
Miller said only a handful of seniors have signed up so far.
Community Connections officials must obtain income and residency verification.
Many seniors are leery of giving out that kind of information, but Miller ensures the information is necessary to qualify for the program and is kept guarded.
For information or to qualify for the program, call Community Connections at (706) 556-0609 or visit the office at 405-A W. Church St. in the Harlem City Park.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.