Hundreds of thousands of people in San Diego County struggle with hunger daily.
What Is “Hunger”?
The Food Bank defines hunger as the consistent lack of enough food to meet nutritional requirements. It can mean fewer meals each day and poor-quality food that is calorie-rich but nutrient poor.
The Hidden Problem of Hunger
Hunger is a problem that many of us do not see yet it affects people all around us. We are in contact with people affected by hunger every day and most of us are unaware of it – the senior citizen at the post office, the child walking home from school, the co-worker in your office, the construction worker on the job site, the cashier at the coffee shop. These are all familiar faces, and most likely one or all of these people are struggling with hunger in our community.
Hunger and Poverty in San Diego County
Hundreds of thousands of people in San Diego County struggle with hunger daily. Of San Diego County’s 3.1 million residents, more than 462,000 people live below the poverty level.* This equates to a household income of less than $11,490 for an individual and $23,550 for a family of four. These individuals face “food insecurity” which means that little or no food is available at home and they do not always know where they will find their next meal.
Hunger and Homelessness
The face of hunger in San Diego has changed. Many people associate the Food Bank with those who are homeless, but the majority of the people we feed are low-income individuals and families who have homes but struggle daily to put food on the table. And increasingly in this tough economic climate middle class families are now seeking help from the Food Bank.
The Economic Downturn and Hunger
The prolonged economic downturn has deeply affected San Diego County. With an unemployment rate close to 8%, continuing job layoffs, home foreclosures and rising food and gas prices, tens of thousands of additional families and fixed-income seniors are turning to the Food Bank for help every week.
As the barometer of the county’s economic health, the Food Bank’s distribution increases illustrate the impact of the economy on local families. In 2008, the Food Bank provided food to over 200,000 people per month. This year, the Food Bank is feeding, on average, 320,000 people every month. In the fiscal year 2012 – 2013, the Food Bank distributed nearly 20 million pounds of food – the equivalent of 16.6 million meals.
* U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011. Compiled by SANDAG, Jan. 2013