Over 250,000 people in Sacramento County are currently considered to be “food insecure.” According to  a report called Hunger Hits Home, “Food insecurity exists when an individual or family has limited or uncertain ability to acquire nutritionally adequate and safe foods.” In 2010, over 80,000  of those who are food insecure in Sacramento County and eligible for CalFresh, commonly referred to as food stamps, were not even enrolled in the program.

Workers unload food at the River City Food Bank

To help raise awareness about food insecurity, the Sacramento Hunger Coalition, a project of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, created the 7-Day Food Stamp Challenge. This challenge was a week-long event which encouraged participants to eat no more than $4.90 worth of food for each day, or the average per day, per person amount of money a food stamp recipient receives.

“We hope this challenge will encourage community and elected leaders to support food banks and initiatives like the CalFresh match at farmers’ markets to increase healthy foods in our communities and support our local economy.” says Edith Martinez from the River City Food Bank.

Those who participated in the challenge collectively agreed that it was a struggle for them to spend less than $5.00 and expressed their frustrations with going without things like soda and coffee and the lack of affordable healthy choices.

“At this time of Thanksgiving, which is only a week away, it is really appropriate for our community to remind each other that not everyone is going to have a happy day or the kind of day we imagine with family and friends sitting around a dining table enjoying each other company. says Senate President pro-tem Darrell Steinberg. There are some, too many, that are at risk of going without.”

To many this is not a 7-day challenge; this is an everyday challenge. We have to support our local food banks who fill the gaps for food insecure families and create more awareness for aid so that people in Sacramento can get all the help they need.