Hunger 101

who we serve

In 2019, we helped 205,341 people experiencing hunger.

Hunger 101

A common misunderstanding is that the majority of people who need food assistance are the homeless and mentally ill. That is not the case. And there is not one type of hungry person in Sacramento but many:

  • One-third of the meals we provide feeds a child
  • One out of 10 of our clients is a senior
  • Many of our clients have income from employment and may even have considered themselves middle class, but today they are “working poor”
  • Many of the people who seek help are disabled, including older veterans
  • Many are grandparents who are primary caregivers to their grandchildren

One out of four children in Sacramento County lives in poverty. Almost half of the people in the County who are food insecure have children under 18 living in the home.

Seniors are being hit hard, because their fixed incomes are not keeping pace with rising costs. Almost half of seniors in Sacramento County don’t have enough income to meet their most basic needs such as housing, utilities, medical care – and food.

All but a few of River City Food Bank’s clients have household incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL), which is defined in 2017 as just $24,600 for a family of four. Low-income people spend an average of 30 percent of their budget on food, compared to 7 percent for the average American.

Hunger affects children’s cognitive development, readiness to learn, and overall health when they are young and even into adulthood. Children who don’t get adequate nutrition when they are three-years-old and under actually suffer permanent damage during this critical period of rapid brain growth.

Hungry children often perform poorly in school and have lower academic achievement because they cannot concentrate, and hungry children have more social and behavioral problems because they have less energy for complex social interactions, and cannot adapt as effectively to environmental stresses.

We are meeting families who have never needed help before. They need food banks so that they can keep up with rent and utilities. And more and more seniors are facing the brutal choice of paying for life-sustaining medication or getting enough to eat. Hunger is often associated with homelessness, but the reality is that people who experience hunger are young and old, suburban and urban, working and non-working.

The assistance given by River City Food Bank is intended to foster self-sufficiency by helping someone get through a rough time. Many of the people who seek our help are hoping food bank shopping is very temporary. With a little help and compassion, they soon can return to a sustainable lifestyle.

A family or individual who reports income at or below the poverty line can receive a three-day supply of nutritionally balanced food up to once a month from our Midtown location between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. each weekday, and on Saturdays between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the Center at St. Matthew’s. Families with small children also receive non-food items such as diapers, baby food and formula.

Anyone who lives in Sacramento County and reports that they or their dependents are living at or below the federal poverty line. Adults are asked to show photo identification and medical IDs or birth certificates for all dependents.

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