Commentary: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County seeks to help area seniors

Amigos805-logoMarch 13, 2014
Commentary: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County seeks to help area seniors
By Frank X. Moraga / Amigos805
Frank X. Moraga
Sunny beaches, vibrant retail centers and an improving housing market seem to indicate that the 805 region has weathered the worst of the economic storm of the Great Recession.

But just in time to dim that image is a new report on the region’s senior population by Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Did you know that one in 14 seniors in Santa Barbara County live in poverty?

And did you also know that Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is helping those seniors by providing two bags of groceries each month to help them supplement their food budgets?

In fact, Foodbank reports the average recipient of its “Brown Bag” program is a 75-year-old woman living on less than $900 per month, who struggles to pay for housing, health care and basic needs.

To help those seniors, Foodbank provides 15 Brown Bag distribution sites throughout Santa Barbara County. Each Brown Bag contains high-protein items, canned soup, pasta, cereal, eggs, bread and seasonal fruits and vegetables, the agency reported.

The program’s 100 plus volunteers, many who are Brown Bag recipients, are essential to the success of the program, officials reported. Volunteers help assemble bags of groceries for more than 1,300 seniors countywide and make home deliveries to about 400 seniors with health limitations who are unable to pick up their own bags.

There are plans in the works to expand Brown Bag to include cooking classes, information sessions on nutrition and gardening education for seniors.

Brown Bag distribution sites are located in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. To find out if you qualify or how to apply, call 805-967-5741, ext. 102.

For more information about the program, contact Community Programs Coordinator Eloisa Chavez at 805-967-5741, ext. 102 or send an email to
— Frank X. Moraga is editor/publisher of Amigos805. He has served as business editor, director of diversity and general manager of a bilingual publication at the Ventura County Star, and as a reporter in the community editions of the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Daily News.