“I wouldn’t be able to eat if I didn’t have them bringing me food.” Carol, 83, a long-time Flagstaff resident and former teacher and bank teller, has been receiving home-bound meal deliveries from the Flagstaff Family Food Center since we took over the Commodity Senior Food Program from the Department of Economic Security in 2018. Carol owns a car but has too much trouble walking and moving around to be able to use it on her own. “I’d have to hire someone to go to the grocery store,” Carol says. “Even if I had money for the groceries, I probably couldn’t afford that.”

Each month, FFFC delivers a box of CSFP non-perishable food items and an FFFC family food box, consisting of mostly produce, as well as dairy, meat, and bread, to Carol’s home. The fresh produce is particularly valuable to Carol, who told us that fruits and vegetables are too expensive for her to purchase. As her budget got tighter, Carol wasn’t able to afford fresh produce and had to replace it with canned and processed non-perishable food. “My diet went downhill and I started to have trouble with my health. My doctor said, ‘Carol, you need to start eating more fruits and vegetables.’” Carol’s response: “Yeah, you wanna give me the money to buy them and I’ll eat them.”

Now Carol has consistent access to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Oranges, carrots, and grape tomatoes are her favorites. Her doctor has noticed a change in her diet, as well. At her last appointment, he told her that all of her vital signs were perfect. With regular home deliveries of nutritious food, Carol is healthier, happier, and able to keep up with her bills and expenses without worrying about putting food on the table. “As long as I have the Flagstaff Family Food Center, I won’t starve… I’ll have clothes. I won’t have to worry about anything.”

1 in 7 seniors in Arizona struggle with hunger. Seniors face a unique set of challenges, including depression and social isolation. Carol looks forward to her monthly food box deliveries for the social aspect, as much as anything. She counts on Cierra to be at her door on the first Thursday of every month, without fail. Carol always invites Cierra in for a snack, but she’s “so business-like” and has more deliveries to do. Knowing there will be someone bringing her food every month makes Carol feel like she lives in a community that cares about her. “We look out for each other,” Carol says about herself and her neighbors. “It’s how we survive.”