May 29, 2014

Food bank surprises low-income York County seniors with fresh produce

More than 3,000 seniors in York, Chester and Union counties live below the poverty line and struggle to pay for fresh food.

Hundreds of people who normally go to the York County Council on Aging senior center for a lunch or other services received a welcome surprise Thursday when a truckload of donated produce was given away to the senior center’s clients.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, a nonprofit that serves five counties in South Carolina and 14 in North Carolina, delivered the food along with representatives from Food Lion, which donated the fresh fruits and vegetables.

More than 3,000 seniors in York, Chester and Union counties live below federal poverty guidelines and rarely get enough fresh produce, said Kay Carter, executive director of Second Harvest.

“Many seniors do not get the food they need, so this ‘surprise’ is one way to help these people,” Carter said.

Wendy Duda, executive director of the senior center, called the surprise gift “wonderful for our seniors.”

“It is a fact that so many seniors have to choose between healthy eating and buying medications and the other costs of living,” Duda said.

Senior Center client Linda Presnell, 65, said the fruits and vegetables she received Thursday will help her family, as she and her husband have had to learn to stretch a fixed income after he had heart surgery.

“I know a lot of people in the situation where there just isn’t enough money to stretch for fresh food,” Presnell said.

Second Harvest serves all of York County’s food banks among the 550-plus assistance centers it helps. In 2013, Second Harvest food – which comes mainly from donations from area grocery stores and the public, with some help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – helped more than 1 million people.

The food bank annually gives away more than 45 million pounds of food. Joe Ready, one of Food Lion’s managers who brought more than a dozen volunteers who work for the company to help Thursday, said the company is proud to help seniors.

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