Local agencies have partnered again to kick off the ninth annual Feed Seniors Now food drive this month.

The Feed Seniors Now food drive began in 2010 as part of a national initiative of Comfort Keepers to raise public awareness about food insecurity and hunger within the aging population, and to fill a need for local seniors who often have to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care and bills, according to a press release from Independence Bank.

Comfort Keepers, Five Star Food Service, Green River Area Development District, Independence Bank and Specialty Food Group, LLC have once again partnered to host the food drive.

The food drive serves six counties in the Green River area that include McLean, Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, Ohio and Webster.

Independence Bank Daviess County President Nick Oller said food insecurity is a crisis growing among seniors, especially in the last year with the pandemic leaving many seniors without a job or necessary resources.

“Hunger is just, unfortunately, a silent epidemic among seniors, right here in our community and nationwide. We know right now, half of seniors living alone lack the financial resources to pay for basic needs,” he said.

According to Meals on Wheels America, nearly 7.4 million seniors have incomes below the poverty line, living off an income of $240 a week or less.

Due to COVID-19, Oller said this number has grown significantly.

“It’s just important for us to help our communities understand that there are seniors in our community that need our help and need our help more today than they probably ever have,” he said.

Oller said he believes 2021 will be an “epic” year for Feed Seniors Now as the community comes together to help those in need in a trying time for all.

Local seniors living in one of the five counties who have an income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level or who are currently receiving public assistance are eligible to obtain food through this initiative.

For more information on the initiative, call GRADD at 1-800-928-9094

Those wishing to contribute are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items at locations throughout the seven-county area — which includes all Independence Bank locations — by April 30.

Monetary donations are also being accepted, 100% of which will be used to buy those food items most needed. Donations can be mailed to The Independence Foundation, Inc., Attention: Feed Seniors Now, P.O. Box 988, Owensboro, KY 42302.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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