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Second Harvest's NAPS program helping seniors during pandemic

Ryan Juntti
Updated: September 24, 2020 08:45 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased food insecurity for so many people, but that has made it especially difficult for seniors.

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Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank is making it easier for seniors to access good, healthy food through their Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors or NAPS program.

Seniors at Asbury United Methodist Church in Duluth were able to pick up corn, potatoes, and bananas among other foods as part of Second Harvest's NAPS Program.

"It's a USDA commodity program where seniors get staples in a box, so protein and cereal and all those things to keep seniors healthy, and then we pack those boxes here and mobilize them through about 30 different program sites throughout northeastern Minnesota," said Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank Executive Director Shaye Moris.

"We certainly did see an increase this spring in the number of people requesting support from that program," said Moris.

The need for that support continues today as many seniors are afraid or unable to go out in public during the pandemic.

"It's a great program for the elderly because we can bring it to homebound seniors, who don't want to go to interface with the public so in that regard it really offers a safe alternative to a senior going out and having to find food for themselves," said Moris.

Like many other things, it has had to be adjusted during the pandemic.

"Things have been working fine for this program. We've just had to change our distribution method, so people used to go inside and sign for their boxes, and now we've done everything from outside, in parking lots or outside apartment buildings," said Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank Program Coordinator Lynette Specht.

The ability to provide for seniors in need remains constant.

"We're able to provide it in their homes with our Adopt-A-Senior program, so we can link up seniors and people, and that provides companionship too, so it's kind of a win-win in that it provides a really important source of food and companionship to local seniors," said Moris.

Requirements to be eligible for the NAPS program

  • 60 years or older
  • Meet qualifying income guidelines
  • Live in Minnesota

Anyone looking to volunteer to pack boxes for seniors should contact Second Harvest.

WDIO is partnering with local organizations to identify issues and to coordinate our community response. We can accomplish great things when we come together as a community. To learn more about Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, visit WDIO Creating Change.  Be part of the solution.

Credits

Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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