Utica, NY (WIBX) - Hunger Solutions New York and AARP have teamed up to raise awareness among communities across the state about the situation of senior hunger. Hunger Solutions Executive Director, Linda Bopp says there's a high percentage of seniors living in Oneida County that are suffering in silence. "There are seniors in our communites who are hungry and for a meriat of reasons they're not reaching out for help. So, we're here today to leverage all the resources in Oneida County, and we're doing this across the state to reach out to them and make sure that they get the assistance that they need," Bopp said.

The group convened a roundtable discussion with AARP New York officials and local seniors at the Parkway Community Center today in an effort to combat the problem. "The problem is serious in that we find that about only 45-percent of the seniors who are eligable for the food stamp program are actually participating in that program, so that's a high precentage of seniors who are in their homes and struggling, and need food assistance," Bopp said. She says seniors living in rural areas tend to have it tougher, due to lack of access.

Bopp says the community can help reduce the number of food deficient seniors in Oneida County. Bopp said, "There are a number of ways people can help. One is, if you know of a senior who you think may be struggling, certainly offer to talk to them, reach out to them, because again, the pride that seniors have, they don't want to reach out for help often." She says another way is to contact the nutrition outreach and education program that can be accessed through, www.foodhelpny.org. Bopp says there you can find county by county community based organization information who specialize in tackling hunger among senior citizens.