Aging Gracefully

Aug. 10, 2021

Marie's Story

Every person asking for help from Edmonton’s Food Bank has a story. There are always underlying reasons for needing support from us. While we can’t know everyone’s reason, those we hear from shed insight into their situation and by extension, a measurement of the Food Bank system designed to support them.

Marie lives in an apartment complex with her fellow senior citizens and deals with anxiety and depression every day. She has been receiving hampers sporadically from Edmonton’s Food Bank since 2018. The email we recently received from Marie was full of positivity and gratitude. Her message began with, “It was a nice surprise to see everything I received like broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, potatoes, parsnips, celery, and lettuce – wow!” She continued on with, “I work closely with my doctor to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s how I want to live my senior years. So again, I want to stress how grateful I am.”

Preparing for a Milestone Event

Feedback from clients is always appreciated and we asked Marie if she was willing to have a follow up conversation with us. On the positive side, we learned Marie has noticed more and more fresh food in her hampers. This has been a welcome addition and she stated, “As a senior on a fixed income, fresh food is expensive, but I try to eat as much as I can.” This increase in the variety of fresh produce is partly a result of our Food Bank Fresh program. We’re very happy to see positive results of our collaboration with Alberta’s fresh food producers.

On the not-so-positive side, Marie is turning 65 next year. Most people look forward to this milestone in life but Marie is faced with the real possibility of her expenses outpacing her income, which will force her to find a new home that’s within her budget.

Marie is an AISH recipient and will lose this funding at age 65. At that point, Old Age Security will begin and her CPP and CPP Disability will continue, but she anticipates her monthly income will decrease and her status of “just getting by with a little help from the Food Bank”, will shift to “I don’t want to leave my home but I have to”.

It’s an incredibly stressful countdown Marie has been anticipating and trying to prepare for. Support systems are there for seniors and she has reached out to several including Sage Seniors Association. She’s been on a waiting list for low-income housing at Civida, (formerly known as Capital Region Housing) for four years, but there’s still no clear path for her yet.

Community Support Systems

Her and other residents in the seniors complex have formed a quasi support system and regularly share any new leads that may improve their situation. They also look out for each other. Marie observed a neighbour struggling with food security and after initial reservations, convinced her to ask for help from Edmonton’s Food Bank. It’s a mindset Marie overcame herself. She admitted that her anxiety almost prevented her from accessing much needed resources.

Edmonton’s Food Bank exists for people like Marie. We are inspired that despite her uncertain future, she still exudes thankfulness and optimism. “I have gratitude in my heart,” she stated in our conversation, “and I’ve always wanted to voice my appreciation.”

The Food Bank will always be ready to help ease Marie’s food insecurity and through our partnerships with other agencies, we are here to feed the hungry and recognize that we are also here to understand why and to make connections.

We are prepared to help people in need once, twice, or more. Regardless, our doors are open and ready to serve. If you or anyone you know is in need of help with food, please call us at 780.425.4190, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.