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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.

10,000 Letters Campaign: Make Your Voice Heard

Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget would eliminate the California Food Assistance Program, cut Supplemental Security Income, and decimate the CalWORKS program and other vital services, all of which will exacerbate hunger in your community and throughout the state.

With just a short time left before Governor Schwarzenegger introduces his May Revision budget, it’s imperative that voices for health and human services are heard loud and clear in the Capitol! 

That’s why the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is partnering with other human services organizations across the state in asking everyone to generate letters for the “10,000 Letters Campaign”.  Our shared goal is to generate 10,000 letters to members of the Assembly and Senate Budget Committees and other leaders in opposition to the Governor’s proposed budget as soon as possible! 

We know that several thousand letters have already been generated – NOW we need your help to ensure we meet (and hopefully surpass) our goal of 10,000! 

Please click on the links below for your legislators, print out, sign, record your name, city and zip code (below your signature), and mail or fax each letter as soon as possible. We urge you to ask your family members, friends, colleagues, and anyone else to do the same. Thank you!

Assembly Member Joan Buchanan
Assembly Member Noreen Evans
Assembly Member Nancy Skinner
Assembly Member Tom Torlakson
Assembly Member Mariko Yamada
Senator Mark DeSaulnier
Senator Loni Hancock
Senator Pat Wiggins
Senator Lois Wolk

To locate your State representatives, visit www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. If you are having difficulty opening any of these documents, please email Patty McDowell at pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org.

Food pantries see an increase of people in need

Alan Wang from ABC7 reports on the need for food assistance in Concord.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7042107

Residents Living In Poverty Skyrockets In Contra Costa County

KTVU’s David Stevenson reports from the Food Bank about poverty in Contra Costa County.

http://www.ktvu.com/video/21154221/index.html

More need and more donations

Check out USA Today’s front page article – Food banks see more who need and more who give!

“We’re up in terms of food and funds,” says Ross Fraser, spokesman for Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks. He says food donations are up 20% and cash donations are up 46% from a year earlier.

How much does it cost to support a family?

How much must an individual earn to support their family? According to http://www.livingwage.geog.psu.edu/ it would take more than three full-time jobs, earning minimum wage, to support a three person family in our community.

Check it out:
Living Wage Calculation for Contra Costa County, California
Living Wage Calculation for Solano County, California

New Feeding America video features President Obama

Last week as President Obama addressed the state of the economy, he acknowledged that many Americans are struggling with hunger and are turning to food banks for help. But as those people reach out, he noted, food banks across the country are often unable to keep up with demand. Watch the video from Feeding America to see what the President had to say.

Local residents go to food banks for help

Check out this story that ran on ABC7 last night.
Many Bay Area people are standing in line for the first time at food banks.
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=6642005