Advocates from San Diego Hunger Coalition gathered in Point Loma on Friday (September 2) to begin a monthlong campaign to call awareness to the difficulty many San Diegans face in feeding their families.
"Hunger is a hidden crisis in our region," said Anahid Brakke, executive director of the Hunger Coalition. "About half of the recipients of CalFresh [California's food stamp program] are children, making it an incredibly important resource."
But CalFresh benefits, Brakke said, fall short of meeting the food needs for many. The group displayed hundreds of messages about food and hunger handwritten on paper plates by visitors to local food banks in front of Barons Market, which will be collecting donations throughout the month.
"Without the food I am receiving today my family would not have enough to eat until payday," read one note, signed "A happy family," in response to the query "Why do you come to food distributions?"
An estimated 435,000 people in San Diego County face some level of food insecurity, 38 percent of whom are children. Half of the recipients of CalFresh benefits are also minors, according to Brakke.
The Hunger Coalition is also promoting what it calls the CalFresh Challenge the week of September 19–25, asking community members to feed themselves for a day or a week on the $4.27 daily food budget for CalFresh recipients. The group hopes to "raise awareness of hunger and gain a new perspective on how hard it is to eat healthy on a limited budget."