A study conducted by the hunger-relief charity Feeding America found that each year 441,730 San Diego County residents go without food because of a shortage of money. That translates to an estimated 73.6 million meals.
According to the "Map the Meal Gap" study, 40 percent of those people (nearly 177,000) are from working families that are not eligible for supplemental nutrition assistance programs such as CalFresh.
Hunger in San Diego County has been on the rise in recent years. Last March 15, the county's board of supervisors adopted a plan to expedite the delivery of assistance to those in need after receiving word that the number of those receiving food stamps in the county increased from 169,000 to over 218,000 in two years time.
"So often we talk in terms of how many meals or pounds of food we provide, and we certainly are proud to have distributed 42 million pounds of food in the last 36 months, but to know the actual need and where we should be as a community is simply staggering," stated Jennifer Gilmore, executive director of Feeding America San Diego, the county's largest food donor, in a April 25 press release.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 14.7 percent of U.S households were considered "food insecure," or unable to acquire sufficient meals because of insufficient funds.
"There is no 'one size fits all solution,' nor is their one face of hunger," stated Gilmore. "Impacting the meal gap will take partnerships and a multifaceted approach. We need to focus on moving families out of food lines and into self-sufficiency by committing to distributing healthy food to struggling families."