Click here for a downloadable 2-page Fact Sheet on Senior Hunger.

To learn more about senior hunger, contact Betsy Crites at bcrites(at)

Senior Food and Nutrition Committee

As part of the Durham Partnership for Seniors, EHD establish the committee to increase collaboration among organizations working in the field and promote greater awareness among the public about the problem of hunger among low income seniors.


POLICY:  In 2018, we held informational sessions for social service agencies and generated buzz for the NC DHHS to apply for a waiver for the Elderly Simplified Assistance Project (ESAP). This will streamline the application and recertification process for adults 60+ to enroll in SNAP. The process of adapting the computer systems and requesting a waiver from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service is on track. ESAP will hopefully be available in 2020.

We are now focused on the Closing the Meal Gap bill2019 introduced by N.C. Congresswoman Alma Adams. Visit our policy page for a description.

COMMUNITY ORGANIZING: We spawned the Golden Life Committee, which organizes residents in low-income apartment complexes to improve their health and well-being starting with adequate nutritious food and healthcare. We also work on transportation and other factors that affect overall health. On location, the programs are called Healthy Seniors and Food Talk. We work in Durham Hosiery Mill Apts., Preiss-Steele, and Forest Hills Heights.

LOCAL PLANNING: Introduced food and nutrition as an important consideration as critical to the Master Aging Plan being developed for Durham. The Community Support & Health System / Senior Hunger & Nutritionworking group has set numerous objectivesunder the goal to “Ensure access to sufficient nutritious food.”

INFORMATION AND REFERRAL:  Under the End Hunger Durham leadership, we will partner with NCCARE360 to create a “food hub” that can refer low income and health compromised older adults, as well as others, to the food services that can best meet their needs.

What is ESAP?

The Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) is a demonstration project that seeks to increase participation among the elderly low-income population by streamlining the application and certification process. A waiver is granted to states to conduct a demonstration project for a period of five years.

The simplified application process would be limited to persons 60 and older with no earned income, although some projects also include disabled households with no earned income.

Specifically, the demonstration project waives the recertification interview requirement, makes use of data matches to reduce the amount of client-provided verification, and extends the certification period to 36 months. ESAP demonstration projects also often make use of a simplified two-page application.

End Hunger Durham has convened several organizations concerned about senior hunger to learn more about ESAP and advocate for the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, which submitted a waiver request to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in June 2019.

To receive additional information and updates, contact Betsy Crites, bcrites(at) or call 919.381.5969.

Screen and Intervene: Addressing Food Insecurity Among Older Adults

Developed by FRAC and the AARP Foundation, this free, online course is designed for health care providers and community-based partners working with older adults. While the focus is on older adults, much of the information and many of the strategies are relevant across the lifespan.

In just 60 minutes, learners will learn how to:

  • Define food insecurity;
  • Identify the risk factors for food insecurity among older adults;
  • Identify the negative health outcomes that food-insecure patients may face;
  • Use the Hunger Vital Sign™ screening tool; and
  • Connect individuals to SNAP, additional nutrition resources, and community partners.

The course also includes downloadable resources that can readily be used in clinical settings. Continuing education credit is available, too, for medical doctors, dietitians, and other health care professionals.