Terry Bradburn, a 64-year-old widow, was No. 176 in line at Liberty Ministries Christian Fellowship's food pantry in North Sacramento on a recent Thursday, waiting for her allotment of salad mix, fresh pineapple, dried and canned beans, bagels and coffee cake.
"The line is short today," she said. "The big crowd already came through."
Her brother, Vincent Venezia, was right behind her, No. 177. He lost his caregiver job a year ago. Now, at 60, he lives part of the time with his sister in her Rio Linda home. And part of the time, he said, he lives on the American River.
"He went from doing good to dirt poor," his sister said.
In Sacramento and across the country, people 60 and older represent the fastest-growing demographic asking for charitable handouts of food. In the parlance of experts, they are among the "food insecure," the growing number of Americans, including 5 million older adults, for whom nutritious meals are either inaccessible or unaffordable
In the land of plenty, where one-third of adults are considered obese, many seniors are at risk of going without food.
"It comes as a surprise to most people that seniors are going hungry," said Dr. James Ziliak, director of the University of Kentucky's Center for Poverty Research. "People think we conquered hunger with the War on Poverty back in the 1960s.
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