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The Senior Brown Bag Program

Next to children, seniors are the most vulnerable group at risk of hunger. Senior food insecurity has risen as a result of the recession. The number of seniors at risk of hunger in 2015 was 70% higher than in 2007. Pre-seniors between the ages of 55 and 64, are particularly vulnerable as they are not yet of retirement age and thus ineligible for safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Merced County Food Bank's Senior Brown Bag Program provides supplemental nutritious groceries twice a month to over 2,400 older adults (ages 55+) at 16 distribution sites in Merced and Mariposa Counties. 

Without the Senior Brown Bag Program, many seniors in Merced and Mariposa counties would be extremely isolated and at increased risk for malnourishment and illness. Many seniors are forced to make difficult but unavoidable choices such as whether to purchase their medications, pay for their housing, and/or pay their utilities. Buying food, especially nutritious food, is often last on their list.

Sample Senior Brown Bag food items:

  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Fresh Produce
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Other staple items

Senior Brown Bag Program participants are provided with opportunities to volunteer at their food pickup site, which offers them social connections and a sense of belonging and purpose as they contribute to the Food Bank. Every month, more than 200 volunteers gather at the various Senior Brown Bag sites to sort, bag, and distribute food to their peers. Many participants have built new friendships and a sense of community by volunteering.

For More Information

For more information about the Senior Brown Bag Program, please contact Earla Anderson, Senior Brown Bag Program Manager, at (209) 726-3663 or email

  • CCAH