The St. Petersburg Free Clinic has received a grant, which will provide food to senior citizens in south and mid-Pinellas County.
The Hearty Homes program is just one of the many programs the free clinic offers needy citizens. Armed with a $20,000 grant from Clearwater-based Senior Citizens Services, Inc
., the clinic can now provide food assistance to more than 200 elderly residents.
While most seniors in need are able to access meals through community centers on weekdays, there is a need for services on the weekend. The Hearty Homes programs provides food for the elderly to take home with them once they leave the center.
“We bring the food to the community centers where the seniors are already beina transported for lunches,” says Beth Houghton, Executive Director for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic
. “Their driver takes them back to where they live, gives them their food and even helps them get the food up to their apartment.”
To qualify for the program, seniors must be considered food insecure, meaning they lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. Also, they must have few or no options for transportation. Houghton reiterates the importance of providing nutritious food for the seniors.
“As we get into the holidays, there are a lot of food drives, which is a great,” she says. “However it's important to remember that some of the people receiving the food have restrictions. For our food bank, we are looking for donations that are low-sugar, low-sodium and low-fat. Things you might buy for a loved one who is diabetic or has cardiac health issues.”
In addition to donating food to the free clinic's food bank, you can also help by donating money to help with the cost of delivering the food to the elderly. For more information about the clinic, and how you can help, click here