In 2019, 5.2 million seniors aged 60+ faced hunger. 

As part of the Durham Partnership for Seniors, EHD works to increase collaboration among organizations that serve older adults and to promote greater awareness among the public about the problem of hunger among low income seniors.

In 2022, End Hunger Durham began efforts to deliver in-person, congregate meals, when possible with current COVID-19 safety recommendations. We are excited for the opportunities presented by delivering food in this manner, especially the opportunity to listen to resident concerns, share health and nutrition information, and especially promote a community of neighborliness. Our first such event was held at Preiss-Steele with food provided by our long time partner – Bowick’s Ark Catering. Meals were hand delivered to the doors of those who could not attend, thanks to the help of resident volunteers.

Senior Nutrition Accomplishments

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. NCDHHS agreed to apply and is now waiting for USDA approval of the waiver.

COMMUNITY ORGANIZING: Our work spawned the Golden Life Partnership, 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 food and health. We host programs called Healthy Seniors and Food Talk. We work in Durham Hosiery Mill Apts., Preiss-Steele, and Forest Hills Heights and other senior housing sites.

LOCAL PLANNING: We introduced food and nutrition as a critical consideration for the Master Aging Plan being developed for Durham. The Community Support & Health System / Senior Hunger & Nutrition working group has set numerous objectives under the goal to “Ensure access to sufficient nutritious food.”

INFORMATION AND REFERRAL:  In collaboration with NCCARE360, EHD is the main agency receiving referrals for emergency food. We quickly send them to the food services that can best meet their needs.

Transportation for Seniors

EHD worked with Go Durham to launch a free Senior Shuttle that currently transports senior residents of DHA housing communities directly to Walmart at Glenn View Station. This service helps the seniors avoid long rides in public buses. We believe this will also limit exposure to the broader population, decreasing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

This program currently serves the following sites:

  • Forest Hill Heights
  • J.J. Henderson
  • Preiss-Steele
  • Morning Glory
  • Hosiery Mill 
  • Veranda at Whitted School
  • Morehead Hills
  • East Main St (former Oldham Towers)
  • Carver Creek
  • Scattered Sites

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. It was accepted and the program was rolled out in 2021.


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.