Who’s Hungry Now? All Demographics Now Face Food Shortages

Who’s Hungry Now? All Demographics Now Face Food Shortages
October 2, 2012 Betsy Stone

One of our clients recently sent us this message:

To whom it may concern:

On Friday, June 22, I had the privilege of going to your food bank for assistance. I am seventy-three years of age, a retired vocational nurse. I travel in a motorized wheelchair and on occasion use food banks. I was extremely impressed by the way clients were treated with dignity, respect, and support. I commend you and your staff for the beautiful work that you’re doing.

Our client is far from alone. Nearly 4 million Californians experience hunger. Not only are more people facing food shortages, but more types of people are hungry who were mostly self-sufficient until a few years ago — people who never expected to turn to a food bank for help. Food insecurity doubled between 2001 and 2009, to the point that almost half of low-income Sacramento households report missing meals.

Children are hungry

UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research recently reported that half of California’s low-income households with children could not afford enough food. Families with children have been especially hard hit… and will be even more so during the summer when their children lose access to school breakfast and lunch programs. Summer meal programs have been a lifesaver for many families, but Sacramento County has 40 fewer sites that are providing free meals to needy kids this summer compared to last summer. Besides providing families with healthy 3-day emergency food supplies, River City Food Bank tries to provide snack sacks for children who often accompany their parents when they visit the food bank over the summer.

Seniors are hungry

Over the past few years, seniors’ vulnerability to hunger has increased as their expenses have outstripped their incomes. Expenses peak over the summer due to high cooling costs. While the A/C may be a luxury for many of us, it’s a necessity for older people whose bodies cannot regulate temperature as it once did. In the month of June, visits by older clients to River City Food Bank increased 38% over  January.

Middle-aged adults who are disabled or unemployed

Middle-aged adults 50-59 are increasingly food insecure because they neither qualify for government programs for families with children, or Social Security. This group also reports the highest incidence of disability, and is far less likely to be in good health than adults younger or older. We hear so often how these adults would like to get a job, any job, but they can’t even get phone calls returned.  Those who turn to us are usually “first timers” who can’t quite believe they’re short on food.

You can help!

  • Please help us meet our summer appeal goal and give what you can to make sure that our shelves stay stocked with healthy food.
  • We also greatly appreciate donations of items for children’s snack packs: 100% fruit juice, small boxes of raisins, protein and trail mix bars, individually wrapped packages of cheese and crackers or peanut butter and crackers, etc.
  • If you shop at the Cesar Chavez Farmers’ Markets on Wednesdays, buy a little extra produce and donate it at the handy Giving Fresh table.
  • Be part of our Growing Circle by donating any surplus fruits and veggies from your backyard garden.
  • As always, you can drop off non-perishable food at any Goodwill Xpress location.
We are so deeply grateful for the generosity of neighbors like you, as you take the time to learn about people in our community who are hoping for our help.