The summer months are a great time for thinking about and eating all those lovely fruits and vegetables that are ripe and in season. But what if you couldn’t afford to buy cherries, peaches or watermelon, let alone milk or peanut butter? What if the rising costs of fuel and food made is so that you could no longer adequately feed your family? This scenario is increasingly becoming a reality for many people in the Bay Area (as well as nationwide), which is why our community food banks are now, more than ever, so important.
I spoke with Suzan Bateson, the Executive Director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank, so I could learn more about food banks and hunger in the Bay Area. I focused on Alameda County as it’s where I live, but also because it covers such a large area. Here’s what I learned:
- 1 in 3 children in Alameda County faces the threat of hunger each day
- 38% of food bank recipients have at least one working member in their family
- Calls to the Alameda County Community Food Bank are up 34% from last year
- The number of people calling in April of 2008 was 1,890, compared to 1,059 in April of 2006
- The average number of calls has been steadily increasing since last July, with each month establishing a new record
- Since the beginning of 2008, the Alameda County Community Food Bank has received 1,188 calls from people who have never called before