Food Poverty

Yesterday, on the JacksonFuller FaceBook page I posted a picture of a car full of groceries that Britton and I had picked up during a slow Tuesday tour for donation to the SF Food Bank. It would be awesome to think that a car full of groceries could solve the food poverty that exists in San Francisco, but sadly that isn’t the case.

A Drop in the Bucket of San Francisco Hunger
A Drop in the Bucket of San Francisco Hunger

San Francisco has a reputation for affluence (and for homeless people passed out on the corner near Union Square) so the following statistic may surprise you:

  • One in four residents of San Francisco and Marin county is unable to afford all of the food they need.

I don’t know about you, but I find that to be a profoundly sad and mind-boggling statistic. Here are some other facts about the SF Food Bank – this year they will distribute roughly 45 million pounds of food, which is enough for more than 100,000 meals per day. And of the roughly 225,000 people served each year by the food bank, only 17% of those are homeless individuals. Who are the rest?

Seniors, children, and poor people.

America is an incredibly wealthy nation, and San Francisco is a tremendously affluent region. But even with all the wealth, there are still children and elderly that will go hungry tonight. Part of this is driven by the fact that the cost of living in the Bay Area is so much higher than the rest of the country. For example, to qualify for food stamps, an applicant must make less than 130% of the federal poverty level. As of now (Dec 2012), that translates into a yearly income of $24,817 for a family of three. Divide that by 12 and the monthly income is $2,068. Could you live in San Francisco (with two others, as a family of three) on $2,068? And guess what – if that’s your income and you qualify for food stamps (CalFresh), guess how much monthly you’ll be getting? $14. How many meals could you make with $14 in a month?

Please take a moment and consider making a donation to the SF Food Bank.

And to end this on a slightly more positive note – here’s a great article about the efforts taken by the SF Food Bank to ensure that they can provide healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need.


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