Banner Olive Branch Senior Center helps older Arizonans get federal benefits

Posted 3/18/21

A Sun City senior center is helping older Arizonans with their food and utility bills. 

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Banner Olive Branch Senior Center helps older Arizonans get federal benefits

Posted

A Sun City senior center is helping some older Arizonans with their food and utility bills. 

Banner Olive Branch Senior Center is one of 40 organizations across the U.S. that have partnered with the National Council on Aging to help older adults apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to a news release from Banner Health. 

“We know that for many of our seniors getting food, especially healthy, nutritious food can be very challenging, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it more difficult. Yet healthy food is essential in treating diabetes, heart conditions, depression and fall prevention and many other health problems,’’ said Dawn Gielau, director of the senior center, in a statement. 

The senior center has served the Sun Cities since 1988 and offers support services, including a home delivery meal program, health and wellness classes and a pantry program supported by community donations. 

David Ziegler, a 73-year-old Sun City resident, was initially reluctant to sign up for a welfare program, but said the staff at the senior center reminded him that he had paid into the federal program for years through paycheck deductions. The program earned him an extra $146 each month for food and took 25% off his monthly electric bill. It also allowed he and his wife to access affordable health insurance. 

“That $146 made a huge difference for us,” he said. “It means we can buy vitamins; we can fill our prescriptions instead of just scraping by.’’

Ms. Gielau said Mr. Ziegler is just one of many seniors who don’t want to have to ask for help, but food insecurity — an issue exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic — is an obstacle to “successful, healthy aging.”

Banner Olive Branch works to connect seniors throughout Arizona with social workers, home-health aides and more services. Anyone seeking more information can call 623-465-6001. Callers don’t have to be a member of the senior center to call the helpline. 

The senior center has served the Sun Cities since 1988 and offers support services, including a home delivery meal program, health and wellness classes and a pantry program supported by community donations. 

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