October 14, 2022 | Events

Food Insecurity in San Benito County

Food Insecurity in San Benito County
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The Community Foundation for San Benito County hosted an informational meeting to bring awareness to the significant unmet need for food assistance affecting thousands of homes across San Benito County. According to a report on Food Insecurity in San Benito County by UC Santa Cruz’s Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise & Participatory Governance, one in four San Benito County residents may be at risk for a food shortage.

The report was written by Blum Center Director Heather Bullock and a team of graduate researchers, David Amaral, Emily Hentschke, and Eva Bertram. Data from 2016-2017 and 2019-2020 was analyzed using a “food insecurity index” developed by the Blum Center, which at an aggregate level, estimates the number of meals being missed after considering meals purchased and food assistance provided.

Leaders of food agencies and elected officials in San Benito County were invited to come together at the Community Foundation Epicenter to listen to the presentation, ask questions, and brainstorm strategies for reducing food insecurity and to start fostering some collaborative efforts. To get a current position on food insecurity impacting county agencies, Bill Lee, Executive Director of Martha’s Kitchen, and Sarah Nordwick, CEO/Executive Director of Community Food Bank of San Benito County, both gave a brief statement of their perspective on present trends in their field. Lee stated that the “demand for food has not gone down” in recent months. Nordwick added that an increase of 50 or more families a week had signed up for services at the Food Bank since January of this year. “This is our community, it’s our county, and none of us could make this better unless we all work together,” she said.

The Community Foundation plans to host a follow-up meeting at the start of next year to coordinate action plans to further support nonprofits and agencies that work to combat food insecurity in San Benito County.

Click on the link below for a digital copy of the report.

Gary meeting
The meeting was facilitated by Community Foundation CEO/President Gary Byrne.
Small group discussion ideas and suggestions towards handling food insecurity.
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Emily Hentschke, Director Heather Bullock, and Lisa Nishiokaby from UCSC's Blum Center. Photo taken by Juliana Luna, Intern at BenitoLink.
Sarah CEO/Executive Director of Community Food Bank of San Benito County

Sarah Nordwick

Executive Director of Martha's Kitchen

Bill Lee