A landmark research study just released by Feeding America captures the undeniable connection between the economic downturn and an increased need for emergency food assistance. The study depicts U.S. hunger through both a national and regional lens. Data was collected from February to June 2009 using interviews and agency surveys. The findings mirror what Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties has been seeing in our day-to-day operations.
Hunger is running rampant throughout our two-county service area. The Food Bank estimates that 1 in 4 people in its two-county service area are at risk for hunger. In the first six months of our fiscal year, we fed 17% more people than the same time period last year. This equates to serving an average of 236,560 people each month with a total of 17.5 million meals.
The unprecedented increase in requests for food assistance is primarily seen in programs that serve families with children, and 54% of surveyed households included at least one working adult. One third of those surveyed had to choose between buying food and paying for medicine or medical care.
"Over the next month, we plan to analyze the numbers and utilize them to create a more comprehensive profile of who is hungry in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and why. Moving forward, Second Harvest will use this information to grow food assistance programs and to support public policies that will reduce food insecurity in our two-county service area," said Cindy McCown, Senior Director of Programs and Services.
For more information, please see our press release, and stay tuned for the release of a fully localized report in March.
To find ways to help end hunger in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, visit www.SHFB.org.