2005-09-14 / Seniors

Some Elderly In NYC Go To Soup Kitchens ‘To Make Ends Meet’

“More than four out of five New Yorkers (82 percent) believe that hunger is a problem among the elderly. In fact, close to 24 percent of elderly New Yorkers turn to soup kitchens and food pantries to make ends meet. In a city of 7.9 million residents, where elderly individuals comprise just 12 percent of the total population, this is a particularly worrisome finding. It means that 1 out of 4 elderly New Yorkers are at risk of hunger and are turning to emergency food programs.”

This quote comes from a news release from the Food Bank for New York City which reported that a new study from the Food Bank, conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, revealed that a vast majority of New Yorkers believe that city government should address the hunger crisis that is worsening across the five boroughs.

The report, entitled “NYC Hunger View September 2005,” states further that there is a heightened sense of public awareness about the problem of hunger among the elderly, irrespective of demographic differences.

The findings were released last Tuesday along with “Hunger: An Aging Issue,” a comprehensive policy paper about elderly hunger, at the Food Bank’s 14th annual agency conference, where more than 600 members of the city’s hunger relief community discussed solutions for ending hunger.

The Food Bank for New York City is the city’s primary supplier of free or low-cost food for the hungry. The Food Bank helps to provide the food for more than 240,000 free meals served each day by more than 1,200 nonprofit community food programs in the five boroughs.

Commenting on the new reports, Food Bank President and CEO Dr. Lucy Cabrera stated:

“We often refer to hunger as a hidden issue because people don’t realize that every day New Yorkers, like the person next to them on the subway or living across the hall, may indeed be turning to a soup kitchen or a food pantry. This report shows that an enormous number of New Yorkers not only know about the issue, they care about reducing the number of people who must rely on these food programs for help.”

The Marist survey, according to the Food Bank, found that 89 percent of city residents, regardless of gender, age, race/ethnicity, household income and education level, think it is important for city government to reduce hunger this coming year.

According to the Food Bank, breaking down this finding still further reveals that 86 percent of households with incomes of $75,000 a year or more and 86 percent of residents with graduate degrees agree with this conclusion; also, three quarters of younger New Yorkers, ages 18 to 35, have a strong awareness of elderly hunger and 87 percent of women and 74 percent of men polled think hunger is a problem among the elderly.

The Marist survey was a followup to a 2004 report from the Food Bank which had revealed that 2 million New Yorkers were at risk of hunger and that 25 percent of people accessing community food programs were 65 or older.

Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 67 million pounds of food and was recognized as Food Bank of the Year by America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s Food Bank Network.

For more information, including a detailed fact sheet on NYC Hunger View September 2005, visit www.foodbanknyc.org.

‘DEPRESSION IN SENIOR ADULTS’: That’s the title of a lecture series that will be presented by the senior department of the Central Queens YM & YWHA of Forest Hills in conjunction with Parker Geriatric.

The lecture series covering depression affecting senior adults today will take place over three sessions on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. on November 2, December 14 and January 11 at the Y at 67-09 108th St., Forest Hills.

On November 2, speakers Melissa Martin, M.D., Geriatric Fellow and Martha Wolf will discuss “Causes and Symptoms”; on December 14, speakers Smitha Pillai M.D. and Sheikh Jasmulden M.D., Geriatric Fellows, and Martha Wolf will discuss “Therapies and Treatment”; and on January 11, Mervin Wallace, M.D., Geriatric Fellow, and Martha Wolf will discuss “Ways to Deal/Stress Reduction.”

On a lighter note, the Y is sponsoring a trip for senior adults to Atlantic City on Wednesday November 9 to gamble and to enjoy a live show.”

The bus will leave the 108th Street location at 9:30 a.m. sharp and return at about 9:30 p.m. Sign up by September 26 at the Senior Department. Call 718-268-5011 ext. 621 for more information.

The trip costs $50 for members, $55 for non-members and includes transportation, a free buffet lunch, $15 of slot machine money per person, and admission to the 3:30 p.m. show which will be a sentimental journey back to the nostalgic 1940s with USO Show troupe, “The Andrews Sisters,” complete with costumes, hairstyles, dance numbers and audience participation.

INFO FAIR AT LaG CC: LaGuardia Community College is hosting on September 27 a special event for older adults that will include an information fair on topics of interest to seniors and a live performance by Mable Lee, one of the 20th century’s greatest entertainers and tap divas.

The information fair, beginning at 12:30 p.m., will introduce the attendees to the college’s Program for Older Adults, which offers fee-based courses and free workshops and events, and Entry to College (credit program) for Mature Adults. In addition, information will also be provided on a host of subjects, including health and good books. Refreshments will be available.

At 2 p.m., the dancer and entertainer and her friends will perform in the Mainstage Theatre at 47th Avenue and Van Dam Street, Long Island City. The registration fee is $8 for those registering by September 20 and $10 for those registering at the door for the show only. Those who are interested in attending may call (718) 482-7244.

Ms. Lee dominated stage and screen in the 1930s and 40s with her potpourri of snake hips, boogie, and jive dancing.

She performed for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, appeared at the opening of the first black owned club in Atlanta, Georgia, the Top Hat on Sweet Auburn, and toured throughout the U.S. with longtime childhood friend Nipsey Russell as part of the dance team Slip and Slide. In New York City, she was a part of the Original Apollo Chorus Line, performed at Small’s Paradise and toured with Cab Callaway and his band.

Around the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she performed in the first all-black USO show with prominent artists like Butterbeans and Susie, Cooke and Brown, Rubberneck Holmes and Jean, and the Ovie Alston Orchestra with Eubie Blake as conductor.

From 1942 to 1946, Lee was featured in over 100 soundies and was bestowed the title “Queen of Soundies.” Among the movies were, “Baby Don’t Go Away From Me” with Stepin Fetchit, “Everybody’s Jumpin’ Now” with Noble Sissle, “Some Bull” with Pigmeat Markham, “Your Feets Too Big,” and “The Joint is Jumpin” with Fats Waller.

In the 50s, she appeared in several revivals, including “Shuffle Along on Broadway” with Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. In 1976, she was the leading lady, Irene Paige, in a five-year national tour of “Bubblin’ Brown Sugar.”

For her contribution to the arts, she received the Lionel Hampton Legacy Award 2001 and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The college’s Adult and Continuing Education Program and the Performing Arts Center, and the Queens County Savings Bank are sponsoring the event with the support of the Lions Club of Sunnyside/Woodside and the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside.

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