September is Hunger Action Month and a good time for all of us to remember those in need.

For many Mainers, this is a difficult time of year and, regrettably, too many residents have to eat less or even skip entire meals because they don’t have enough money for food.

Maine has the fourth-highest rate of hunger in the nation, and the highest in New England with more than 200,000 individuals experiencing what is known as food insecurity.

The truth is one person going hungry in Maine is one person too many.

Together, we can make a big difference by donating non-perishable items to local food pantries, which will help many of our friends and neighbors.

In addition, we can help raise awareness about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. SNAP is one of the country’s most effective tools to address hunger and poverty. In 2011, SNAP kept 4.7 million people out of poverty, including 2.1 million children. In Maine, 70 percent of senior citizens who are eligible for SNAP are not enrolled, which likely means many people are unaware they might qualify for the program.

SNAP is an excellent resource for families and individuals who struggle to put food on the table. People who might be eligible can go to www.maine.gov/mymaineconnection or call 1-800-442-6003 to connect with their local office of the Department of Health and Human Services.

To learn more about what can be done to end hunger for Mainers older than 50, go to www.drivetoendhunger.org. By taking action now, we can make a difference to at-risk Mainers in the months ahead.

Jane Magnus, volunteer

AARP Maine Communications

Windham

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