How can I enjoy my supper when someone else is hungry?


“Anybody hungry?” is usually a light-hearted invitation to come and eat. For some of your neighbors, hunger is more serious than not eating for the past few hours.

Among the hungry may be your grandparents. There are several reasons: a reduction of income after retirement and large healthcare bills that use more of their budget than they planned. Retirees may resort to buying only cheap, less nutritious foods and skipping meals to save money.

Hunger has a more complex cause than a lack of money. Transportation is closely related to hunger. Some rural areas of Dallas County have no grocery store. Even in towns with grocery stores, if an older adult no longer drives, shopping becomes a challenge.

Two programs help older adults obtain fresh produce. One is the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Low-income persons over age 60 can receive $30 worth of checks to spend this season on fruits, vegetables, honey and fresh herbs. The older adults may designate a proxy to shop for them.

The second option are the year-round Pop Up Produce Stands, which “pop up” monthly in four Dallas County communities that have no full grocery store.

For more information, contact the Dallas County Health Department at 515-993-3750 or

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.


  1. Perhaps the county could coordinate with the state and the local farmers markets that are finally reopening to allow EBT to be used at them like you can at the Downtown Farmers Market in Des Moines? From the Iowa Department of Human Services Website: “More low-income Iowans have increased access to locally grown farm fresh food at selected Farmers Markets due to the efforts of the Iowa Department of Human Services’ Wireless EBT Project. This project provides wireless point-of-sales machines to qualified vendors across the state. This enables vendors to accept the EBT food assistance card, MasterCard or Visa or Discover.”


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