We all want and deserve to spend our retirement years savoring life, not struggling. But after decades of raising children, working hard and paying bills on time, that is exactly where Barbara found herself. At 79, this generous and resilient great-grandmother needed what she had always provided others: help.
When her husband Gary died, everything changed. Among the adjustments she made is learning to drive again – a necessity for getting to the store and a lifeline so she won’t be alone. While her home with Gary for 30+ years was paid for, their car was not. On a drastically reduced income, the payments were difficult to make. So were unexpected and expensive bills, from a failed central air system to a broken sewer line.
Since January, Barbara has come to the Wilkinson Center Food Pantry monthly for food that bridges the gap due to her sudden income change. “It took eight months to receive money from Gary’s pension, so everything helps,” she explains. “I really appreciate the meat, because it’s so expensive in the store. And the people here are so friendly. I see some of the same friends when I come up here.”
Issues Facing Seniors
Food insecurity and isolation are among the issues commonly facing older adults like Barbara. Medicare and Social Security-dependent seniors frequently fall behind financially and, as a result, 17% of Texas seniors live in poverty.
“We see a lot of seniors coming into the Food Pantry – about a third of the people we serve.” said Anne Reeder, Executive Director of Wilkinson Center. “Many of them are hungry not only for food, but for fellowship. Others need help with their finances. We felt Wilkinson Center could and should compassionately fill these gaps.”
Thanks to a new Seniors Program, older adults who come to the Food Pantry can also socialize together, learn about nutrition, take fraud prevention classes and even receive an additional 26 pounds of food monthly. This programming was created based on the specific requests of seniors and launched with the help of our partners – Frost Bank, North Texas Food Bank, Ridgewood Park United Methodist Church and Senior Source. With the support of people like you, Wilkinson Center will continue to grow the Seniors Program so cherished seniors can move beyond struggle to savor their golden years.