Blog

Tag ‘ child hunger ’

Helping Prevent Childhood Hunger in Solano, Contra Costa Counties

Originally published in the Vacaville Reporter: Teachers know it’s difficult to educate a hungry child. Day-to-day, hungry students cannot focus and are not learning. Long term, students who do not eat well develop health problems caused by poor nutrition. To help students be healthy and ready to learn, the school lunch program makes sure every child in public school has a meal available to them every school day.

In order to continue this important program, a summer lunch program exists so that children can continue to get food year round. But budget cuts mean few schools actually have a summer school program, so children do not come to school each day causing participation in the summer lunch program to drop significantly. Both Contra Costa and Solano County school districts have responded in creative ways to continue providing meals to eligible children. Vacaville schools, for example, have a mobile lunch truck that takes meals to low-income housing areas, making it easy for children to get the food they need. While these systems help, overall results are a good news/bad news situation.

On the positive side, Contra Costa County has the 9th highest participation rate in the state of children who receive free and reduced price lunches continuing on the summer lunch program. Solano County does well too, having the 13th highest rate. The negative side is that Contra Costa only has 17 percent of the children participating and Solano only has 12 percent. Because of the suburban nature of our communities, we need to have a “place” where those in need can go to get the food they need. Schools are a common area where people trust those helping educate and care for their children. Investing in our schools provides a place to care for our children, both educationally and nutritionally.

Learn more about child hunger and ways you can help at www.foodbankccs.org/childhunger.

 

New Study Shows That 22% Of Children Live at Risk of Hunger in Contra Costa and Solano Counties

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, released a new study which reveals in 21.7% and 22.4% of children under the age of 18 are struggling with hunger in Contra Costa and Solano counties respectively.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011”, also reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children are food insecure.

About half of the food insecure children in the Contra Costa and Solano counties are above 185% of the poverty line meaning they do not qualify for most federal nutrition programs including the National School Lunch Program due to the high cost of living in the area.

When discussing the issue with Larry Sly, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Executive Director, he said: “It is ironic that many children in our community are ineligible for government assistance programs, but their parents make so little, the children are food insecure. This is why the Food Bank’s work, both providing food and advocating for change, is so important.”

“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity” provides the following data in an interactive map format:

  • The percentage of the population who is food insecure in your county.
  • The percentage of children in your county that is eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.
  • The percentage of children in your county that is not eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.

By providing additional details about the face of child food insecurity at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the community based agencies they serve and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.

You can be a part of the solution. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or giving of your time and energy, everyone can play a role in ending hunger during Hunger Action Month this September. Learn more at www.foodbankccs.org/hungeractionmonth.