COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Hundreds of elderly folks in our area struggle each day to pay for medications, rent, bills, food, and often going hungry after their fixed income runs out for the month.
The Eastern Heights Baptist Church in Columbus provides a home for the Brown Bag organization to help fight the issue.
"An elderly person has never said to me, 'I deserve this,' " said Vilma Feliciano, Brown Bag director.
Around 400 humble and grateful elderly men and women pick up groceries once a month from the Brown Bag organization's makeshift grocery store.
It's enough to last a week, and the pickups are often scheduled for the end of the month, when money is running low for many.
"Just getting old doesn't free you of the bills, they still have housing to pay, their utilities, they have the medications now," said Feliciano.
Feliciano says the nearly 30-year-old local initiative to help seniors struggling to pay for food extends beyond the pantry.
"It's more than just giving them groceries we want to give them fellowship, we want to give them hugs if they need hugs, we want to be like a family to them because again, there's so many that have no one," she says
The group targets those who they say slips through the gaps in state and federal assistance, making enough to miss out on financial help, but not enough to practically get by.
"Once you get to a certain guideline you get no assistance. So then you have all the medications to pay, extra insurance that you have to buy, all within a fixed income," said Feliciano.
Having spent more than two decades in their current location, the group is now looking at major renovations, all with the hopes of providing an updated and welcoming home that doesn't feel like a place to get a hand-out.