Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Senior adult hunger is a problem in South Carolina. Senior Resources is an agency hoping to change that by educating the community.
Senior Resources held a Senior Hunger Lunch and Learn luncheon Tuesday, but a few participants may have gone home hungry.
Each person was randomly given a card as they came into Virginia Wingard United Methodist Church. They were asked to play the role on the card and eat what that person would have for lunch.
Linda English was one of the participants, she said, "It makes me feel sad. It makes me feel very sad."
"The people who come in are divided into one of several groups," said Pam Dukes, the executive director of Senior Resources.
She said, "The first group is an upper class group who have plenty to eat and who are enjoying life in their retirement."
She said the other groups included middle class senior citizens. A group that could be a medical or financial emergency away from losing it all.
Dukes said, "Then we have a group which are our Meals on Wheels recipients. Then we have a group representing our Meals on Wheels waiting list." These participants at the luncheon had to sit on the side with a box of can goods.
These scenarios at the luncheon were pretend, but it is a reality to many senior adults in our state. In South Carolina, 4.3% of senior adults go hungry every day. That is nearly 260,000 older adults in our state that do not have enough to eat.
"It doesn't make you feel good to watch other people eat or to smell the smells of lunch and to know that you're not going to have any," said Annette Guilfoyle.
Guilfoyle played the part of being on the waiting list for Meals on Wheels. Her lunch would be a box of can goods from a food pantry. In Richland County, there are about 85 people on the Meals on Wheels waiting list.
South Carolina is currently 4th worst in the nation for seniors who are at risk of hunger and food insecurity. That is a trend they hope the participants at the luncheon will change after seeing and feeling what some hunger seniors go through.
Dukes said, "They're (senior adults) the ones that built our community. They raised us. They taught us at school. They taught us at Sunday school. They have helped build these communities, and we need to take care of them. It is the right thing to do."