The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the number of older adults seeking help from local food pantries increased 81 percent from 2006 to 2008, according to an Associated Press story about how the recession has affected seniors' ability to pay for food.
If you are an older adult who needs help getting food--or you know someone who does--there are federal and state programs that can help you.
If you are over age 60 or have a disability, you may qualify for the new federal food stamp program called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which replaces the Federal Food Stamp Program.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides prepared meals to needy people, including the elderly.
Eldercare Locator is a great resource for senior community services of all kinds, including food.
For a complete list of government-sponsored food assistance programs, see Nutrition Assistance Programs from the USDA.