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If your food budget is tight, you’re not alone. Food insecurity, or a lack of access to food, among older adults rose by 59% during the pandemic, according to the National Council on Aging. Inflation has also raised food prices. Thankfully, there are resources available to low-income residents that can conveniently provide affordable or even free food. Here are four programs/organizations older adults can use to get access to affordable foods.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is a national organization that provides nutrition and companionship! Staff members and volunteers deliver nutritious meals to the homes of older adults, while also offering friendly conversation and safety checks. This program is mainly for adults aged 60 or older who have difficulty shopping for or preparing food for themselves. The cost of these meals may vary depending on income or diners may be asked to donate what they can, but no one accepted into the program will be refused food because they cannot pay.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that helps low- and no-income U.S. residents purchase food. Every month SNAP participants receive money through their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to put toward certain food items at the grocery store. SNAP eligibility is based on income and the requirements in your state. Visit MyPlaceCT’s SNAP page to learn more about this program and find your local SNAP office.

Congregate Meals

Many senior centers serve lunches to older adults for free or with a small donation. These meals may also be served in other community settings like housing facilities for older adults, churches, or even restaurants. Many of these participating sites are part of the Elderly Nutrition Program, a federal program that provides these meals along with nutrition screenings, education and counseling to help participants meet their nutritional needs. There is also an option for home-delivered meals for older adults living with a disability. Visit MyPlaceCT’s Congregate Meals page to find a local program near you.

Food Pantry

A food pantry is an organization that gives free food to locals who need help getting groceries. The foods available at food pantries mainly include canned goods, dried foods, and other food items that do not spoil quickly. Some pantries offer other forms of assistance aside from free groceries, such as clothing and resources for government assistance programs. Visit My Place CT’s Food Pantries page to see if you qualify for the services offered and find a location near you.

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United Way of Connecticut 2-1-1 is a free, online and over-the-phone helpline that connects you with the resources you need confidentially, and at no cost 24/7. Communicate with highly-trained specialists who can provide referrals to services and supports that address housing, food, home care, crisis intervention needs and more.

Connect with a specialist during normal business hours, Monday- Friday, 8AM to 5PM. You can also dial 2-1-1 on your phone to reach a specialist.