Mariko Yamada – State Assemblymember District 8
Mariko Yamada represents California’s 8th Assembly District, which includes portions of Solano and Yolo counties and the cities of Benicia, Davis, Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun City, Vacaville, West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland. Yamada chairs the Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee, a position that reflects her professional background as a social worker and her longtime work advocating for seniors and persons with disabilities. She is also a member of the Assembly Committees on Agriculture; Labor and Employment; Veterans Affairs; and Water, Parks and Wildlife. Yamada takes the Challenge during June which is Hunger Awareness Month. She is also taking the Challenge during the budget deadline week in the State Capitol in order to draw attention to social service programs cuts and how it affects our vulnerable communities, especially children and seniors. This will be Yamada’s fourth year participating in the Challenge as a Legislator and every year she learns again just how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy with very limited resources.
Emily Henry – Associate Local Patch Editor San Francisco – East Bay
Emily Henry is a roving editor for Patch in the East Bay with a passion for healthy eating and green smoothies. She’s taking the challenge because she grew up in a welfare family, believes that poverty makes a healthy lifestyle extremely difficult, and wants to share her ability to make something out of nothing in the kitchen.
JB Davis – Editor – Bencia Patch Editor
JB is a Patch editor who enjoys cooking and eating. During this challenge he’ll be writing the introduction to his next best seller – Quinoa in All its Glory. He’s taking the challenge because he likes a challenge.
Dawn La Bar – Legislative & Special Projects Manager, City of Fairfield
Raised by a single mother who at one time received food stamps for me and my brother, I still remember the challenge my mother faced each time we went to the grocery store trying to figure out not only how to stretch her budget, but provide us with nutritious foods. I’m taking the challenge to bring awareness to cuts to these vital social service programs and how it affects our community – especially our children.
The Bart-Williams Family
I, Jess, am a 42 year old married mother of three (ages 7, 5, and 7 months). My husband Arthur will be joining me, though both of us question whether we can make it to Tuesday. Though we eat beef once a week, we are mostly vegan. I am wholeheartedly doubtful that I can fuel myself properly on $4.46 a day, but I am going to try hard. I’m here to apparently learn how to squeeze blood from a rock; and I hope to finally get involved in my community.
I am a board member of a local non profit called Families Helping Families and for the last 27 years, we have provided Solano county residents with and uncooked thanksgiving meal baskets, all this is packaged and delivered by volunteers the Saturday before thanksgiving. We started 27 years ago feeding one family grew to around 100, then the economy took a deep dump last year we fed over 400 families in Solano county. I am also a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and mounting evidence show our diets are effecting our health. I am an employee of Anheuser Busch we have volunteer at the food bank in the past. I am taking the challenge to better understand what those in my community face, also so I can do my best to make our community a better place to live. This truly will be challenge for me talking with one of my co workers today, I have no clue how much I pay for the broccoli I buy for the week.
Monument Crisis Center Staff
The staff at Monument Crisis Center are no strangers to the issues of hunger in America, but this Challenge will help them better relate to the people they serve.
Food Bank Staff
Debbie Fabriquer – Director of Programs
I am taking the Hunger Challenge this year because it is important to know from as many different perspectives as possible how clients may feel and the struggles and challenges they may face. This way as we continue to develop the programs that the Food Bank offers, the programs stay relevant to the clients and can provide them with the food assistance they need in the most effective manner possible. Taking the Hunger Challenge is a way to simulate what they may experience and to help us offer the best program possible for the community.
Debbie will be taking the Hunger Challenge with her two daughters.
Joan Tomasini – Food Drive Coordinator
Joan’s job keeps her busy and very active throughout the week, so staying fueled up is essential.” I am taking the challenge by myself. The reason I am taking the challenge is to remind myself why we do what we do here at the Food Bank. It is so easy for me to just go to the store and buy whatever I want. I don’t have to think that I don’t have enough money. So using a food budget will remind me how expensive food can be and how it can be more difficult to balance the nutritional foods within an allotted budget. This all just reinforces my compassion for those we help.”
Lisa Sherrill – Community Relations Manager
I’m embarrassed to say I have not taken the Hunger Challenge before. I was honestly afraid to take it. I felt like I knew enough about what it’s like to not always have enough money for food. So why am I participating in the Hunger Challenge now? Because I realized that hunger doesn’t care about your schedule and your plans. Why not take the Challenge now and remember that it could be any one of us struggling to feed our families — in fact it is one in six of us.
Rachel Braver – Visual Communications Coordinator
I have always felt empathy for anyone who struggles in life, but last year when I took the Hunger Challenge, I couldn’t believe how little I really knew about what people on food assistance go through. I am taking the Challenge to hopefully bring awareness that any one of us are an accident, illness, layoff away from needing help too.
Caitlin Sly – Farm 2 Kids Coordinator
I wanted to take the challenge again this year because I think it is important to experience what our clients go through. It isn’t easy and I failed last year so I wanted to try again. I want to see if I can do it healthier this time. Especially as someone who is always preaching “make half your plate fruits and veggies” I wanted to see how possible it is on such a tight budget.
Heidi Kleiner – AmeriCorps VISTA
As an AmeriCorps VISTA eligible for CalFresh myself, I am already somewhat used to food budgeting, but I wanted to take the Hunger Challenge again this year to push my understanding farther. Unlike some, I am lucky enough to have an income to supplement my CalFresh benefits and I don’t have a family to feed or take care of, so I don’t usually have to go as low as $22.30 for a week, and that really makes a difference. Having a challenge like this really transforms the way I think about food and it reminds me how important (and difficult) access to healthy food can be.