Food insecurity is often an invisible issue that affects our most vulnerable neighbors. Older residents, who are frequently on fixed incomes, sometimes struggle to stock food that is healthy, sustaining, and affordable. Jubilee Housing partners with the Capital Area Food Bank to provide supplemental food assistance to a couple dozen of our senior residents through the Grocery Plus Program.
Available to D.C. seniors aged 60 or older who meet income guidelines, the program serves 23 Jubilee residents. Each enrolled resident receives a 40-pound box of groceries on the second Friday of every month.
The boxes contain a variety of nutritious foods needed for a healthy diet, including canned meats and vegetables, pasta, cereal, cheese, grains, proteins, juice, and powdered milk. In the summer, residents also receive vouchers they can redeem for produce at area farmers markets.
Jubilee resident Harry Hines, a participant in the program, believes it’s a useful support. “Grocery Plus helps me immensely,” Hines said. “I can use the money I save on food for things like transportation, doctor visits, and other needs. The program helps my budget a lot.”
Jubilee’s Resident Life team has coordinated the program for several years now, with the help of Gloria Ramsay Boone, a resident of the Ritz.
Boone, an alumna of Jubilee’s Leadership 101 course, has overseen the grocery pickup for four years and is always looking for ways to make the program work better for the senior members of Jubilee’s community.
“We used to call the residents on the day of the delivery to remind them to pick up their groceries,” she said. “But it was hard to reach people the day of. I started calling them the night before, and more people remembered to come.”
Boone says at least 15 more residents would benefit from the much-needed program, if there were space. The number of slots in the program fluctuates year to year, as the D.C. Food Bank administers the program all over the city and must balance need with supply.
Jubilee is excited to have Martha’s Table sharing space in our new property, The Maycroft. In addition to early childhood education, Martha’s Table will offer a Lobby Market that will provide additional access to healthy groceries once renovation is complete this fall. The market will serve community members at no cost and offer both fresh produce and non-perishable items. Jubilee residents will be able to shop the market once a month.