Our senior citizens can be among our most vulnerable community members.
While federal Medicare, Social Security and others forms of government assistance provide a safety net, it is often simply not enough.
Then when you factor in challenges around mental and emotional health, declining cognitive abilities and even personal pride, our aging populations often do not access the resources that are available to them.
We are fortunate to have service providers who are conscientious and diligent about reaching our seniors and helping them access all the resources available to them but it is still just not enough.
We are also fortunate to have centers and a faith-based community that is in tune with the needs of our region's most vulnerable.
But again, it is just not enough.
This week, our SunLight Project reporting team learned from the Georgia Department of Human Services that about 300,000 seniors go hungry in our state.
We also learned that Georgia ranks ninth in the country when it comes to what officials call "senior food insecurity," meaning that many of our older neighbors don't know where their next meal is coming from.
So, the fact that Georgia is the first state in the nation to create a statewide plan for senior hunger is good news.
That good, however, must find its way to our senior citizens, their families, friends and caregivers.
That is why we have tackled this topic as part of our SunLight Project reporting series.
While our senior centers are, among other groups, agencies and organizations, providing services, your help is needed to get the word out.
In addition to hunger, we learned the state division of aging services identifies transportation as a major issue that must be tackled as part of hunger plans because it doesn't matter how much food you have if people cannot get to it. So, programs such as Meals On Wheels can help fill that gap.
Not everyone can volunteer time, so donations of money, no matter how modest, can be extremely important when it comes to feeding seniors, providing transportation and other essential services.
While we know we live in a generous community, sometimes we must look closer to home when offering charitable donations; we must realize it is not only in third-world countries where people are starving. It happens right here.
We encourage our readers to volunteer, donate and educate, and do all you can do to make sure that we do not overlook our senior citizens and their very real, and immediate, needs.