1 in 4 of those served at emergency food programs in Contra Costa and Solano counties are children. Read below for key statistics on childhood hunger in our community and stories on the children we help.
- Almost 1 in 6 children in Contra Costa and Solano counties live below the federal poverty level ($23,050 per year for a family of four in 2012). (US Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2011)
- In July 2011, 17% and 12% of the low-income children in Contra Costa and Solano counties who participated in free or reduced-price school meal programs during the academic year were served by summer meal programs. (California Food Policy Advocates)
- 1 in 3 of the students eligible for free and reduce price school meals in Contra Costa and Solano counties are not participating in the program. (California Food Policy Advocates)
Read stories below about families who have received assistance through programs and services of the Food Bank. Real names are not used.
Millicent, Food for Children program participant
Single mother Millicent told how the changed unemployment laws have affected her ability to buy enough food. She worked as a sales manager for four years until she was laid off. She was able to receive unemployment and then worked eight weeks at a temp job before she was in a car accident. Now her unemployment is only for ten weeks instead of the two years it would have been if she never worked those eight weeks. All of her cash is going to pay her bills and there is no money for food or medical expenses. She has two children ages ten and five and lost her child care. She has been coming to Food for Children for four months now and receives CalFresh, which allows her to buy groceries.
Sara, CalFresh recipient and mother of two
“My husband lost his job and the Food Stamp (now called CalFresh) benefits helped for the three month transition,” says Sara. “I would have to stretch out the benefits, and the last week of the month was the hardest because everything was gone. I would then have to use cash for food. The Food Pantry helps with the gap too.” During the three months Sara’s husband completed his GED and now he has a higher salary, so they can make it on their own.
Molly, Food for Children program participant
Molly has a 2 year old girl and 5 year old boy. She started coming to our Food For Children distribution after she was referred by WIC. “My husband is in the military and is stationed at Travis (Air Force Base),” said Molly. “We don’t have family and day care is so expensive so there’s no me working. I stay home with the kids and money is tight. This program is good and helps us.”
Caroline, Food for Children program participant
Caroline’s husband is not working and he cannot find a job. She says, “I’m basically the only income in our house. I’m a CNA working full-time. I’ve been to the pantry at the Salvation Army twice. It helped when we needed it.” She was referred to our program through WIC of which she says, “I don’t know what we’d do without it.”
Farm 2 Kids program participants
The father of a recently divorced family dealing with financial hardship wanted to have a barbecue for his son’s birthday but didn’t think he could afford it. The Food Bank was able to give him extra potatoes and bell peppers that he lightly seasoned and grilled. This made the party budget stretch much further and made his son’s birthday a success.
One student routinely comes in to school hungry. He is really excited to take home the produce and always makes sure to thank the site staff. The other day he thanked them for the fruit because that is what they had for dinner.
Children have been able to focus on their homework more now that they have an apple as soon as they get to the after school program.