Free help to connect seniors to extra food, utility-bill discounts, other services
EDITORS: Both Ziegler and Gileau are available for interviews
SUN CITY, Ariz. (March 18, 2021) – Banner Olive Branch Senior Center, in partnership with the National Council on Aging, is offering eligible Arizona seniors a way to help with their food and utility bills and to sign up for other services they made need.
Banner Olive Branch is one of one of 40 community organizations around the country stepping up efforts to assist older adults in applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
When David Ziegler, 73, of Sun City, heard about the program, he was reluctant to sign up for any kind of ‘’welfare’’ but senior-center staff reminded him that as a longtime wage-earner, he had more than paid into the federal program through paycheck deductions. By signing up for the program, he got an extra $146 a month for food, 25-percent off his monthly electric bill and his wife access to affordable health insurance.
“That $146 made a huge difference for us. It means we can buy vitamins; we can fill our prescriptions instead of just scraping by.’’
Ziegler is a good example of how the program can help seniors who are experiencing financial difficulties, say Banner Olive Branch Senior Center officials.
“We know that for many of our seniors getting food, especially healthy, nutritious food can be very challenging, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it more difficult. Yet healthy food is essential in treating diabetes, heart conditions, depression and fall prevention and many other health problems,’’ said Dawn Gielau, director of Banner Olive Branch Senior Center.
“Many seniors don’t want to talk about this issue or ask for help. But we see eliminating food insecurity as an important part of successful, healthy aging,’’ she said.
Banner Olive Branch is a hub that connect Arizona seniors with social workers, home-health aides and others. To learn more about the program, please call the senior center at (623) 465-6001. Callers don’t have to be a senior-center member to receive this service; it is available to seniors throughout Arizona.
About Banner Olive Branch Senior Center
Banner Olive Branch Senior Center has been serving the Sun Cities and surrounding communities since 1988. The senior center offers a variety of social and educational programs, as well as support services, including a home-delivered meal program, daily congregate lunches, health and wellness classes and a pantry program supported by donations from the community. For information about Banner Olive Branch Senior Center, visit www.BannerHealth.com/olivebranch.