The upcoming holiday season, for many, is about spending quality time with family members and embracing the generous atmosphere of giving for others. In light of this annual boom of generosity as well as ASB’s food drive which started November 14, the issue of hunger in the Bay Area is more pressing than ever. Even for many here, in one of the richest counties in the world, putting food on the table is a constant struggle.
In Santa Clara County, over 44 percent of children and over 12 percent of seniors are affected by hunger annually. Although the county is considered very wealthy on a national standard, one in every four children live below the poverty line. In 2009 alone, over 183.1 million meals in Santa Clara County went “missing:” neither the households themselves nor the food assistance programs could provide these meals for families.
Although these numbers seem bleak, there has been much improvement in solving the issue of hunger, with a boost in food program assistance topping 23 percent in growth and the Hunger Index citing a decrease in the number of missing meals by over 4 percent since 2008.
Progress has been made, but there is still much to be done — hunger in the Bay Area is still a very real threat to the lives of thousands of low-income families. The multifaceted issue of hunger begets a diverse range of solutions of which awareness is the first step.