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Statement on Launching Project FIND To Provide Food Assistance for Older Americans.

August 02, 1972

THE THOUGHT that any older citizens-after a lifetime of service to their communities and country--may suffer from hunger or malnutrition is intolerable.

The White House Conference on Aging last December underlined the particular nutritional problems of the elderly--the problems of living on a fixed income and problems arising from isolation. The delegates called for action programs to help the malnourished aged.

In response to this call, I am today launching Project FIND, a program to seek out the elderly who are not receiving the assistance which could be theirs. I first described this program in my special message to the Congress on older Americans on March 23, 1972.

The Federal Government has increased significantly the resources available annually from food stamp and food distribution programs. Outlays for food stamps alone have increased from $248 million 4 years ago to $1.9 billion in fiscal year 1972--more than an eightfold increase. Virtually every county in the Nation now offers one program or the other. Some 15 million persons now receive assistance from Federal family food programs. These efforts can do much to help stretch the fixed incomes of the elderly.

Unfortunately, however, many older persons who are eligible for assistance are not enrolled in these programs. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of older persons are unaware of these and other resources, private and public, which could do so much to improve the quality of their lives.

It is the objective of Project FIND to discover these older persons--and to build a bridge between them and the society which stands ready to help them in time of need. As a part of this effort, a leaflet describing these programs and how to apply for them will be available to all persons receiving social security checks. For those who feel they need additional help in establishing their eligibility, personal contacts will be made by tens of thousands of volunteers recruited and trained by the American Red Cross.

Project FIND is a cooperative effort on the part of the public and private sectors to replace despair with hope in the lives of many older persons. It represents one more way in which all our people can honor a generation of Americans which has given so much to all of us.

Note: On the same day, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing on Project FIND by Arthur S. Flemming, Special Consultant to the President on Aging and Cochairman of Project FIND, and Vicki L. Keller, Staff Assistant to the President.

Mrs. Nixon will serve as Cochairman with Dr. Fleming.

Richard Nixon, Statement on Launching Project FIND To Provide Food Assistance for Older Americans. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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