Today, as we continue to experience the effects of one of the worst financial crises in U.S. history, many Americans face challenging economic burdens. But in this midst of these financial hardships across the nation, Americans also band together to help ease the struggle of alleviating their financial burdens. The U.S. government has done its part by providing over 40 million people with food stamps in February alone (Food Research and Action Center). Now, in Sacramento, the River City Food Bank has partnered with the Sacramento Hunger Coalition in order to spread hunger awareness by increasing community involvement and reaching out to state legislators.
“Hunger is one of those things in society that we can hide… you can’t walk into a classroom of children and go, ‘Hunger is a problem here,’” says Eileen Thomas, Executive Director of the River City Food Bank. “If you have children who are hungry, they won’t be able to learn in schools. If you have people who are trying to work, and they come to work hungry, they’re not going to be at their best… The community that you live in is only as good as it is healthy.”
Hunger Awareness Week’s aim was to bring community members together in order to end hunger in the Sacramento region. On May 20th, 21st, and 22nd, events designed to increase awareness brought community members closer to this goal.
On the 20th, the River City Food Bank hosted a seminar and discussion revolving around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known to Californians as CalFresh. The seminar provided in-depth information on program, which provides food stamp assistance to millions of families nationwide.
“The goal of Calfresh is to… [provide] supplemental nutrition help,” Thomas adds. “It’s simply meant for those who are at a point when they can’t put food on the table for themselves and others. The goal is to make sure that they have the means to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods until they can [find] a job or go from part time to full time.”
On the 21st, Hunger Action Day at the Capitol provided Sacramentians, food stamp recipients, Food Bank clients and employees, and Sacramento Hunger Coalition members the opportunity to speak directly to legislators. Hunger Action Day reminded assembly-members that all laws have a direct and meaningful impact on citizens.
Finally, on May 22nd, a special showing and discussion of the film American Winter, which “puts a face on the country’s economic challenges and has the potential to humanize the discussion around these issues,” concluded the series of events (American Winter).